Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

According to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), one of Obama’s closest allies in the Senate, raising the Medicare age from 65 to 67 is no longer on the table. From the Wall Street Journal:

A top Senate Democrat said he was told that President Barack Obama is no longer open to an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as part of a broader deficit-reduction agreement with Republicans.

Sen. Richard Durbin, the assistant majority leader who has close ties to Mr. Obama, said to reporters Thursday that he was told “it was no longer on the table” from the White House’s perspective. “It’s no longer one of the items beings considered by the White House,” Mr. Durbin said.

This is very good news. The Obama administration still hasn’t publicly rejected the idea and President Obama even left the door open to the idea in a recent interview, but Durbin is considered a reliable mouthpiece for the administration. If Durbin says it is off the table, the idea is likely dead for the time being.

It should be noted that Durbin said the raising the Medicare retirement age is “no longer on the table.” This implies that it was indeed on the table in current negotiations, but was only recently ruled out as a viable option by the administration.

This whole incident shows the importance of reacting aggressively to trial balloons. There only a short time span between when an idea is first publicly discussed as part of a pending piece of legislation before it becomes baked into the cake. It is the best and most important time to make powerful arguments against a bad policy if you want to stop it.