Nothing like throwing more old people under the bus. If we want to keep Medicare solvent, how about lowering the age and Medicare for all instead of only having the most expensive and sickest Americans participating in it? No, Ed Gillespie informs us this week that Romney wants to raise the eligibility age instead.
From Think Progress: Romney Adviser Says GOP Would Extend Medicare’s Solvency By Raising The Eligibility Age:
Earlier this week, Mitt Romney pledged to restore Obamacare’s savings in the Medicare program — a move that would move up the insolvency date of the program’s trust fund from 2024 to 2016.
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie how the campaign would extend the life of the program if the Romney-Ryan reforms won’t kick in until 2023, long after Medicare reached insolvency. Gillespie replied by insisting that a Romney administration would raise the age eligibility to 67: [...]
Numerous studies have shown that booting 65- and 66-year-olds from Medicare would in fact have only modest savings, while raising health care costs across the board for seniors. Though Medicare spending itself would be reduced by 5 percent, the seniors taken out of the system would then have to turn to employers, other government programs and the states, increasing costs. As a result many of the people who would otherwise have enrolled in Medicare would face higher premiums for health insurance, higher out-of-pocket costs for health care, or both.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates costs could “total $11.4 billion — twice the net savings to the federal government” in 2014 alone. Medicare’s market power would inevitably suffer as well: [...]
Beginning in 2023, Ryan’s FY 2013 budget would “raise the eligibility age for Medicare — now 65 — by two months per year until it reaches age 67 in 2034.” But if Romney hopes to extend the life of the trust fund by booting younger seniors off of the program, he would have to institute the policy sooner and faster than Ryan has proposed.
Transcript below the fold.
WALLACE: You just heard my conversation with Robert Gibbs. And I want to follow up on one of the points he made.
Under their plan, with the Obamacare and the $716 billion Medicare Part A, which is the hospital insurance part of Medicare, stays solvent until 2024. But if Governor Romney is elected and follows through and repeals Obamacare and takes away the spending cuts and takes away the tax increases, the Medicare trustees say that Part A then becomes insolvent in 2016 -- only four years from now and eight years earlier.
What's Governor Romney going to do about that?
GILLESPIE: Well, he's going to reform Medicare. That estimate does not assume that there will be any other reforms and the Romney- Ryan plan is to save the Medicare plan for future generations by allowing for different options for people if you're, by the way, below the age of 55. There would be no change for anyone who's currently on Medicare, or 55 and above.
And the reform that they would put in place would make Medicare, put it on a sustainable footing for as far as the eye can see. And that's the important distinction.
WALLACE: But the problem is, that those reforms don't kick in -- that's one of your selling points -- until 2023. It doesn't affect any seniors or anybody close to being a senior. But that doesn't solve the Medicare Part A problem which kicks in in 2016.
So, what are you going to do to keep Part A solvent between 2016 after you repealed Obamacare in 2023?
GILLESPIE: Well, Chris, there are other reforms as well. As you know, Governor Romney supports increasing gradually increasing over time, bringing the Medicare eligibility age in line with the Social Security retirement age.
Secondly, this Congressional Budget Office notes, the assumption --
WALLACE: -- by 2016? Because I thought that was also only --
GILLESPIE: It's phased in, but it would extend the solvency. The Congressional Budget Office says that assumptions about the Medicare trust fund Part A being solvent through 2024 under the Obamacare proposal is unrealistic, and that's a fact.
What we do know is that the -- as we heard Robert Gibbs say, they are funding Obamacare by taking $716 billion out of Medicare now, current beneficiaries affected by it, and people who paid into that program for guaranteed health insurance are now seeing that money go to other purposes. And that's wrong.
GILLESPIE: And we welcome this debate.
And I think that's why you can see Governor Romney and Paul Ryan in Florida yesterday talking about the need to save this for future generations, to repeal Obamacare, and restore those cuts and reform it to save it.