House Republican leaders want to avoid the fiscal cliff with a proposal that would gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Democrats are reluctant to cut benefits, but President Obama was willing to accept the policy last year in failed negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner, and top Democrats have left the door open to including that measure in a large deficit reduction deal.
Video: Trade-offs of Medicare Age Hike Explained
Jon Chait’s Miserable Endorsement of Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age
What’s more, raising the Medicare retirement age would help strengthen the fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act […] The political basis for the right’s opposition to universal health insurance has always been that the uninsured are politically disorganized and weak. But a side effect of raising the Medicare retirement age would be that a large cohort of 65- and 66-year-olds would suddenly find themselves needing the Affordable Care Act to buy their health insurance. Which is to say, Republicans attacking the Affordable Care Act would no longer be attacking the usual band of very poor or desperate people they can afford to ignore but a significant chunk of middle-class voters who have grown accustomed to the assumption that they will be able to afford health care. Strengthening the political coalition for universal coverage seems like a helpful side benefit — possibly even one conservatives come to regret, and liberals, to feel relief they accepted.
Raising the Medicare Age Is a Uniquely Terrible Idea
Medicare currently is significantly more cost effective than private insurance. Raising the Medicare retirement age would mean shifting many older people from a more cost effective government program to a less efficient private insurance system. This would not just force those near retirement to pay the full cost of their insurance, but since private insurance is a worse bargain these seniors would need to pay even more to get the same level of coverage Medicare would have provided.
Boehner Counteroffer: Raise Medicare Age to 67
In the politician’s world , no one has a physical job , no one stands all day , no one lifts anything other than a briefcase and a cocktail . They don’t know what it’s like to be living on Advil , Aleve , muscle relaxers , pain pills and back massagers from the drug store , just so that they can continue working . I know what that’s like , millions of people do . It gets to the point that your survival isn’t worth the pain and suffering you have to endure , you simply cannot do it anymore .
GOP Counteroffer Would Raise Medicare’s Eligibility Age To 67
McClatchy: GOP Fiscal-Cliff Counter: Cut Tax Rates, Limit Deductions To Increase Revenue A Republican proposal Monday to shave $2.2 trillion off projected budget deficits sets up a fiscal-cliff showdown with the White House because the plan includes reductions in the very tax rates that Democrats seek to raise. The Obama administration’s opening offer sought to raise $1.6 trillion in taxes over 10 years, much of it from higher income-tax rates on the wealthy. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives countered Monday with their own offer, saying their plan would raise $800 billion in new tax revenues but basing that on cuts in tax rates coupled with limits on deductions that would make more income taxable. …The other $900 billion would come from so-called mandatory programs and health care, presumably Medicare, Medicaid and other programs in which spending is often subject to automatic formulas (Lightman and Hall, 12/3).
Report: Raising Medicare Age Would Increase Insurance Costs by $2K
Mr. Simonian, we can find the funding, heck, we could go the Canadian route and put everyone into Medicare if we so desired AND save money doing it. Ask yourself why it is the Canadians cover EVERYONE, have way better outcome numbers than the U.S. and only spend 10% of their GDP on health care? Meanwhile, in the U.S. we have 50 million uninsured, another 50 million with essentially bogus insurance, lousy health statistics (e.g.,CIA: life expectancy in U.S. now 51st place) and we spend 17% of our GDP on health care. At the same time that that part of our population below the median income level has not seen and increase in life expectancy for 30 years. There was a study out earlier this year that for every dollar saved by raising the Medicare age would cost the private sector double.
Daily Kos: Pelosi: Just say no to raising the Medicare age
If they have to make changes to Medicare, which they likely will at some point given the political realities, I would rather them increase the Part B premiums for higher-income beneficiaries. I just looked at the rates and the surcharge for high-income beneficiaries is not terribly onerous (at most, $250 extra a month ($335 total), and that’s only for individuals drawing an income of over $214,000 or over $428,000 for joint filers). Categorical means-testing is a bad idea because we don’t want to turn it into a welfare program that is easier to cut. But there is a lot of room to raise premiums without turning into a welfare program, as the premium rates (especially combined w/Part A, which has no premium for those who paid in) are far lower than what a senior would pay for insurance on the open market. My parents, who are too young for Medicare, pay at least $1500 a month (may be more now; was $1500 a few years ago) for coverage on the individual market. That rate would likely be even higher for a senior citizen if they did not have Medicare. So there is room to raise premiums for wealthier seniors without making it a means-tested welfare program that has no value to them, and I think this is far more tolerable than raising the eligibility age or increasing cost-sharing across the board.
Change of Subject: Raising eligibility age for Medicare would be a costly ‘reform’
The Kaiser Family Foundation has found that lifting the eligibility age from 65 to 67 would reduce federal spending by about $5.7 billion in its first year of full implementation. But that would be offset by $11.4 billion in spending by other parties. That includes $3.7 billion in higher costs for 65- and 66 year-olds, $4.5 billion from employers through company-sponsored insurance, $0.7 billion from state governments, and $2.5 billion in higher average prices for third parties once younger seniors are shifted out of the Medicare risk-pool and into the general population.