Raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 saves far less than previously projected, a revelation that makes the policy far less attractive in upcoming deficit reduction negotiations in Congress.Of course, this is not really about is an attempt to incrementally destroy the program.
The long-debated policy now cuts the deficit by just $19 billion over a decade, according to a report released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Last year, the same policy -- of gradually lifting the eligibility age by two months every year until it reached 67 -- was found by the CBO to save $113 billion over the same time period.
The idea has been floated since 2011, when President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner nearly agreed to a broad debt deal that adopted it. But while conservatives still support the policy, along with deeper long-term cuts to retirement benefit programs, the White House and top Democrats have since cooled to it.
"This would have been a tough sell when it raised $100 billion. It's hard to imagine making such a drastic change now that we know it saves far less," said a senior Senate Democratic aide, in response to the CBO report.
As the age goes up, the people get progressively sicker, and the per capita cost goes up, and the population served shrinks, and the program enters a political and fiscal death spiral.
This is the real goal of people who really want this.