Friday, December 7, 2012

Raising the Medicare eligibility age is INCREDIBLY stupid

Raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65 is Republican House Speaker John Boehner's idea of a good way to shrink the deficit.

It's actually one of the most idiotic proposals we've heard from Republicans in Congress. And that's saying a mouthful.

Making people wait until they're 67 to qualify for Medicare would save very little money. And it would take the healthiest people out of the system and force them to (a) either work two more years (tell that to someone whose job involves hard physical labor) or (b) buy insurance on the open market.

If they work longer, they're making it harder for young people to find work. If they buy insurance on the open market, it will cost them something like $25,000 a year.

As Jon Walker points out in firedoglake,
Not only would this benefit cut produce only modest savings for the federal government, but it would also do it in the most inefficient way possible. It would save the government money but by causing an ever greater increase in private spending on health care. 
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. 
Having these older people still in the private market would raise premiums for everyone who gets private insurance. Removing these young seniors from Medicare risk pool would also require increasing premiums for everyone else in the program.