I contacted Dr. Ida Hellander, Executive Director of Physicians for a National Health Program, to get her feedback on whether or not PNHP thought lowering the Medicare age to 55 was a good idea. I respect Ida and the PNHP folks a lot, and wanted to see what they thought.
Here is the PNHP Statement:
Lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 55 only works if it is mandatory. Otherwise it becomes the place where all the sickest patients get dumped. That might be okay for the sick people since Medicare is often better and more secure than private coverage, but it would drive total health care costs (and premiums) up, not down.
I know Anthony Weiner is saying that lowering the eligibility “would perhaps get us on the path to a single payer model.” That would be the same Anthony Weiner who pulled his single payer amendment when asked by Leadership to do so, while Bart Stupak got waived through.
We don’t know what the restrictions on access to Medicare will be, so I question why anyone is out there promoting a pig in a poke.