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Changing Medicare Eligibility: Where’s the Savings?
Posted By Tamara Lytle On December 12, 2012 @ 2:54 pm In Washington Watch | Comments Disabled
If Medicare stops offering coverage for 65- and 66-year-olds, who picks up the tab?
As Congress and the White House debate the menu for a new fiscal diet, raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 is a favorite dish for some. And it’s certainly a favorite topic for Washington journalists, interest groups and opinion makers to dish on these days.
The change would save the Medicare program 5 percent over the next 20 years, according to a Congressional Budget Office brief. That would help both the debt-burdened U.S. Treasury and the Medicare program itself, which will soon struggle to handle coverage for boomers.
But while raising the eligibility age could save the program $5.7 billion in 2014, points out health policy reporter Sarah Kliff in her piece “5 Ways Raising Eligibility Could Change Medicare,” she cites a report by Kaiser Family Foundation that finds “other parts of the health care systems would spend $11.7 billion more providing the same health care benefits.”
Here’s who will pay instead:
Here are two opposing points of view:
“We want to see improvements that actually lower health care costs, not simply change that makes seniors pay more for health care.” – David Certner, AARP legislative policy director
“When people first began receiving Medicare benefits in 1966, the average 65-year-old old lived another 15 years; today that figure is 20 years. It’s little wonder that Medicare costs have grown 14-fold, in real terms, since 1970.” – Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Budget
As negotiations about the “fiscal cliff” continue, we’re bound to have a heaping serving of viewpoints to sort out.
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