drip drip drip

In roughly a month Washington’s focus will again turn to attempts to get a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction when the sequestration cuts are set to go into effect, so the Business Roundtable is already laying down their goals. Their proposal for Social Security and Medicare reform including adopting the chained-CPI and increasing the eligibility age for both programs to 70. There are trying to push the envelope on the issue of Medicare age beyond what has even been discussed so far. From the Business Roundtable:

Increase Retirement Age: The Social Security retirement age should be raised from age 67 to age 70. The unique needs of individuals in in physically demanding occupations should be accommodated and the Social Security Disability Insurance Program should be modernized. [...]

Protect Medicare for Those Approaching Retirement: Medicare’s age of eligibility should be moved to age 70. However, this will not affect those age 55 or older today.

Raising the Medicare age is an unique terrible policy idea. It doesn’t save the federal government much money and by forcing older people into the less cost effective private insurance, it increases overall health care spending. It increases spending for almost everyone including seniors, everyone buying individual insurance, and state Medicaid programs.

Basically the only group of people who would really benefit from this change would be individuals in the health care industry who would see their revenues increase significantly as a result. People like the CEO’s of Aetna, Unitedhealth, Pfizer and Merck who all happen to be members of the Business Roundtable.

Photo by José Goulão under Creative Commons license