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Joe Biden Pledges To Lower Medicare Age To 60 And Forgive Student Debt

As part of his recovery plan for the post-pandemic challenges ahead, Vice President Biden has adopted some of his progressive competitors' ideas.
Joe Biden Pledges To Lower Medicare Age To 60 And Forgive Student Debt

As part of his recovery plan for the post-pandemic challenges ahead, Vice President Biden has adopted some of his progressive competitors' ideas.

In a Medium post published Thursday, Biden revealed his intention to develop detailed plans for lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60, arguing that those covered under employer plans could either continue with them or opt to receive Medicare benefits.

This would make Medicare available to a set of Americans who work hard and retire before they turn 65, or who would prefer to leave their employer plans, the public option, or other plans they access through the Affordable Care Act before they retire. It reflects the reality that, even after the current crisis ends, older Americans are likely to find it difficult to secure jobs.

I think he should start with age 50, and hopefully get it to 55, but that's just me. At least it's a start and one that is sorely needed. The Great Recession showed me just how difficult it is for anyone over the age of 50 to get a decent job that includes health insurance.

Yes, yes. I know Medicare for All is the best way. But I will take achievable goals right now and work for the long-term goal other ways. We need a Senate that can get us there. That means lots of Democrats and few Republicans, though the Republican party should be as obsolete as the Edsel in the post-Trump, post-pandemic era.

Biden also announced a student loan forgiveness program for low and middle income students at public universities. This is in addition to the other proposals for debt forgiveness:

The concept I’m announcing today will align my student debt relief proposal with my forward-looking college tuition proposal. Under this plan, I propose to forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000, with appropriate phase-outs to avoid a cliff. The federal government would pay the monthly payment in lieu of the borrower until the forgivable portion of the loan was paid off. This benefit would also apply to individuals holding federal student loans for tuition from private HBCUs and MSIs.

This proposal would be in addition to my existing student debt proposals:

  • Immediately cancel a minimum of $10,000 of student debt per person, as proposed by Senator Warren in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
  • Those earning less than $25,000 per year will not have to make monthly payments and will accrue no interest
  • Those earning more than $25,000 per year will pay no more than 5% of discretionary income toward payments
  • After 20 years, the remainder of federal student loans will be forgiven without any tax burden
  • Those who participate in public service will be eligible for additional federal loan forgiveness, including $10,000 per year of forgiveness for up to five years.

All excellent beginnings. I would add that student debt should be cancelled for doctors and nurses who train for general practice and infectious disease specialties, given the risks they have to take every day. We need far more of them.

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