In Why raising the medicare age makes no sense, Wendell Potter makes a compelling case that raising the eligibility age for Medicare would not only be cruel, and unwise, but also just be shifting higher costs onto those paying ACA premiums, and raising cost substantially on those between 65 and 67, or causing them to go without medical treatment.
Also, it would represent a major step in the GOP long-held plan to privatize and destroy our entitlement programs.
And, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare is not going to be a catchall. Not only have many states already declared they are not going to accept Medicaid expansion for those that do not make enough to received the tax-refund subsidies, but also:
But, these people still get sick with not coverage shifting costs onto those with private insurance - a cost shifting that already cost those with private insurance $1,000 more on their premiums. Putting the most expensive 65 and 66 year old back into the private pools will raise premiums even more.
But insurers will still be able to charge older people three times as much as younger folks. That would pose a financial hardship for many seniors. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that two-thirds of 65 and 66-year-olds would have to pay at least $2,200 a year more for coverage than they would if they were on Medicare.
And some of the money that the Medicare program might save would actually cost other parts of the federal government more. People earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for subsidies from the government under the ACA to help them afford coverage. If the Medicare eligibility age is increased, more federal subsidy money will be needed to help 65 and 66-year-olds buy policies. And that money will go straight to insurance companies, meaning that about the only people benefiting from this idea would be insurance company executives and shareholders.
Even with the subsidies, some seniors undoubtedly would forgo coverage and pay a penalty to the IRS as required by the ACA because of the hit their family budgets would take from buying insurance. Nearly 15 percent of people between 55 and 65 are currently uninsured, according to the Census Bureau. Many of 65 and 66-year-olds who otherwise would be on Medicare undoubtedly would remain uninsured if the eligibility age was raised.
Potter argues that raising the Medicare eligibility ages would increase the costs of business who would have to continue to provide coverage causing some, especially small businesses to drop coverage entirely.
And, make no mistake about it, this would a major step in the privatization of of our entitlement programs. My impression is that the average age now is some where around 75 to 80, so privatizing 2 years out of 10 to 15 years represents approximately 15% to 20% of the program.
Don't do it Democrats. Expanded military spending and tax cuts were the primary causes of the current deficits along with lower revenues due to the economic downturn. If Democrats go along with this stupid and cruel GOP plan to shift these costs onto the the elderly, poor, and sick will require many of us to spend the rest of our lives holding them accountable which will do much damage to the Democratic Party they will be responsible for.
We may need to raise the premiums that Medicare charges Social Security, and perhaps lift the income cap on Social Security withholdings. But, the Social Security Trust Fund is completely funded through 2034 and is not in crisis. We do not need to abandon and betray our trust with the sick and elderly to adopt the Republican approach to destroying our entitlement programs.