Raising Medicare age to 67: Not a great idea

House Republicans are suggesting raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 as part of a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. It’s not a particularly good idea because it just shifts costs from the federal government onto individuals, state and federal government employers and private employers. Not only that, but total health care costs are likely to rise, since Medicare is fairly cost-effective compared to alternatives. It doesn’t do anything that I can see to improve incentives or take costs out of the system.

Also, in case you were still wondering about whether the GOP was a bigger defender of Medicare than Democrats (as Romney & Co. tried to argue) you can now lay your doubts to rest.

I’d rather see the age for Social Security eligibility go up, while leaving the Medicare age alone. Doing so would provide an incentive for people to stay in the workforce, thus increasing economic activity, and would broaden the base for the Social Security taxes that fund the program. Come to think of it, this would make Medicare more solvent too, since payroll taxes include a portion that partially pays for Medicare.

 

One thought on “Raising Medicare age to 67: Not a great idea

  1. Dennis Byron

    How high would you raise SS eligibility? What are you thinking? A raise to 70 from the current 67? Are you just winging it or do you actually have numbers?

    Ditto for your comment that Medicare is “fairly cost-effective compared to alternatives.” What is the comparison and what is it based on? How do you factor in the 30% fraud, waste and abuse estimated by former Director Berwick? There is certainly no alternative with that kind of ineffective operation.

    (I was not in favor of nor did I vote for Romney. But in the name of honesty, you should withdraw your remark about the GOP. The GOP platform always favored raising the age to 67 to be consistent with SS. There is no surprise in this proposal. What the GOP favored and I assume still favors is eliminating the $716 billion in cuts to Medicare, which has nothing to do with raising the age.)

    Reply

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