There's new proof of just how bad an idea raising the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 is. The Congressional Budget Office has revised its estimate for how much the policy shift would save, and found that it's next to nothing.
Implementing this option would reduce federal budget deficits by $19 billion between 2016 and 2023, accord to new estimates by CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (see Table 1). That figure represents the net effect of a $23 billion decrease in outlays and a $4 billion decrease in revenues over that period. The decrease in outlays includes a reduction in federal spending for Medicare as well as a slight reduction in outlays for Social Security retirement benefits. However, those savings would be substantially offset by increases in federal spending for Medicaid and for subsidies to purchase health insurance through the new insurance exchanges and by the decrease in revenues.
It would save less than $3 billion a year. That's practically nothing. It would force more people onto Medicaid and into the health insurance exchanges, where most would require subsidies. It would probably force a chunk of people into Social Security Disability, as well. It will keep people working longer, and that means it will cost their employers—and everyone with private insurance—more in insurance premiums to cover this older, sicker population. The thing is, people still need health care when they're 65. There isn't a magic two years between 65 and 67 when everyone is healthy and doesn't need to go to the doctor. If they can't get that access through Medicare, they'll have to get it elsewhere. Or go without and cost even more because of deferred health issues when they do reach Medicare age. If they live that long.

Now maybe this terrible zombie idea will finally die.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 09:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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