Raising Medicare Eligibility Age 2 Years Would Actually Increase Total Medical Costs

And it’s not even complicated to explain. David Dayen uses a chart from an article by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to clarify. In short, raising the age would save $5.7 billion in federal funds while forcing 65- and 66-year-olds, employers, other Medicare and Exchange enrollees, and the states to spend a total of $11.4 billion.

Dayen points out that the result should come as no surprise:

This is an intuitive outcome. We know that other countries, which have systems much closer to the single-payer system of Medicare than the rest of the US health system, spend less than half as much on health care as the United States, with better outcomes. So the way to lower costs in the system is to move CLOSER to a single-payer framework, not further away. Raising the eligibility age to 67 would move further away, putting 65 and 66 year-olds into the market. And as Paul Van de Water explains, that has ripple effects through the system …

So here I am at age 63, having planned things based on entering Medicare not later than age 65 (possibly sooner because of my disability), about to have the props kicked out from under my plans. This is standard Republican (well, OK, Republican-plus-Obama-plus-LIEbermanBryan) cost-shifting: the wealthy will pay less in taxes; the rest of us will pay more in direct and indirect medical care costs. Meanwhile, virtually every other advanced Western nation manages to have care comparable to the U.S. in quality but at dramatically lower cost.

Do you ever have the feeling that your government… all of it, including both major parties… has abandoned any intention it may once have displayed to act in your best interest?

UPDATE: Paul Krugman puts an end to the outrageous notion that raising the Medicare eligibility age saves money.

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  • MandT  On Wednesday August 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Although this sounds a little stretched I truly believe that in the next decade as Social Security and Medicare/caid fails by design we will see a huge upsurge in self delivery—–much as India has experienced when Monsanto destroyed a tradition of rural farming five thousand years in the making.

    • Steve  On Wednesday August 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      MandT, I’m afraid I don’t understand the meaning of the phrase “self delivery” in this context, and even Mother Google didn’t provide me an answer. Help!?

    • Steve  On Thursday August 25, 2011 at 8:38 am

      MandT – what a tragic story! I knew the basics of it from other reading, but that article puts the whole sad phenomenon in context. It’s too bad there is not a “corporate death penalty” that could be applied to Monsanto for its crimes.

  • Bryan  On Wednesday August 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    As a guess, I would think it means suicide, and there is an epidemic of suicides among Indian farmers.

    I would also point out that the supposed jump in life expectancy, even without the income adjustment, is magnified by vaccinations that have radically improved the survival rate among children. The rate for people who already reached 60 hasn’t really changed a great deal since 1900, about 5 years from 75 to 80, and that is the group that is affected.

    The big jump in the overall life expectancy means that there are more people paying into the system than when it started, while essentially the same base rate of use.

    The original tables for Social Security actually estimated that the percentage of the population of retirement age would be higher than it actually is.

    They are cherry-picking the data to make their perverted point.

    • Steve  On Thursday August 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

      Bryan, “cherry-picking the data” is too charitable a word for what those cruel people are doing. In essence, they are knowingly killing people by neglect, by design. I have no words strong enough for what I think of people who inflict that atrocity on others; the best I can do is what I do to the Duffer on other sites. Cruelty may be an ancient human tradition, but I’m damned if I let it pass unobserved and uncondemned.

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