November 29, 2012

Let's lower, not raise, Medicare age

We argued this during the debate over Obamacare. If this had been a key element of Obama's program, people would be fightng for Obamacare not opposing it. - Sam Smith

Jon Walker, Firedog Lake - Even though raising the Medicare retirement age is both deeply unpopular with voters and a terrible policy that saves the federal government only a modest amount of money, it is still treated by the Washington media as an idea to be seriously considered.

.... The CBO has previously stated that offering a public option partially based on Medicare rate to everyone in the new Affordable Care Act exchanges would save roughly $15 billion a year. This means if we were to only allow adults between, say, the ages 50-65 on the exchange to effectively “buy into Medicare early,” it should produce smaller but still real savings for the federal government.

What makes an early Medicare buy-in a good deficit reduction idea is that it is also just good policy. Unlike raising the Medicare retirement age, which would force millions of regular Americans to pay more for health care, creating an early Medicare buy-in would save both the government and regular people money. Politically, an early Medicare buy-in is also radically more popular with voters.

Of course, it is only the unpopular ideas that make regular people worse off that are considered serious in this current debate. The “deficit debate” really isn’t about reducing government spending or making it more efficient.

It is sacrifice in the most traditional sense of the word. There seems to be a belief among our leaders and top media organizations that if we do the fiscal equivalent of throwing enough old people into a volcano, the market gods will finally show us favor with a bountiful harvest.


Audrey Lyle said...

Yes!! Many older people could and would retire now if they didn't fear horrendous unexpected medical costs. This would open up jobs to unemployed young people, and their spending would stimulate the economy. It would also lower the average age of Medicare subscribers, with a resultant lower per capita cost of care. Some of the profits taken by insurance companies for their useless, obstructionist participation would be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

But that might take a penny's profit from the hyperwealthy, and that would never do.

During the early days of Britain's invasion of North America, one of the ships bringing contract slaves (aka indentured servants or "colonists") was caught in a storm and the survivors found themselves in the Bahamas. They thought they'd died and were in heaven. Wonderful climate, fruit for the taking, fish that could be caught by hand, plenty firewood and fresh water. They didn't want to be rescued.

But of course the owners of the colony soon put a stop to that, and the luckless "rescuees" were soon doing the back-breaking slave labor that God and the investors, or at least the investors, ordained for them.

We're beasts of burden. We're not supposed to have an easy life.