Jay Carney: Chained CPI still on the table

Both the upcoming sequestration cuts and the end of the current continuing resolution will give President Obama another chance to push for a grand bargain.  Thus the administration is laying out what it will and will not consider as part of a “balanced approached.”

Apparently the pushback against raising the Medicare eligibility age was strong enough that Obama has taken if off the table, but the President would still support switching Social Security to the chained-CPI.

During a press conference today, Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked directly if Obama was still open to raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 as part of a grand bargain and Carney answered with an unequivocal “No.”  Obama had previously supported the increase in age as part of a possible deal with Speaker John Boehner back in 2011, but that deal failed.

In response to a question about Social Security’s cost of living formula, Carney said Obama still considers that change to be on the table.  The President will continue to support including it in future deals as long as it is part of a balanced approach, i.e. contains some new revenue.

Switching to a chained-CPI would effectively be a yearly cut for everyone on Social Security. While modest at first, the size of the cut would grow every year and eventually result in a significant benefit cut for older seniors.