Why Hiking The Age For Medicare Eligibility Wouldn't Save Much

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio talk with reporters at the White House after a meeting about the federal budget deficit and economy in Nov. 2012. Some Republicans have proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP

Americans are living and working longer than ever. And Medicare, the health plan that's supposed to help senior citizens, is facing budget problems sooner rather than later .

By 2023, about 70 million people will get health care paid for by Medicare, and their tab is expected to hit about $1.1 trillion in that year.

So it's no surprise that the idea of raising the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 from 65 keeps getting floated as a way to trim federal spending.

"I don't think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said late last year on ABC's This Week. "Let it float up another year or so over the next 30 years, adjust Medicare from 65 to 67."

And the Congressional Budget Office, the scorekeeper for federal finances, had said in early 2012 that raising the eligibility age to 67 would trim about 5 percent from Medicare spending over the long haul.

Well, there is a problem, it turns out. Thursday, the CBO said the overall savings wouldn't amount to as much as it had previously estimated. Instead of saving the federal government about $113 billion over a decade, CBO now figures it's more like $19 billion over eight years starting in 2016.

Source: www.npr.org

Category: Insurance

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