This week the federal government released a projected savings of $148 billion dollars over the next 10 years if Medicare
eligibility is increased two years to age 67 by 2021. This is lower than the Congressional Budget Office
March estimate of $162 billion, however, that calculation did not include premiums paid by seniors into the program.
Even though the savings will not significantly affect the budget deficit, they will be able to pay for “doc fix”; a permanent pay raise legislated by Congress for Medicare doctors every year with the proposed money accumulated by raising the eligibility age.
President Obama supports increasing Medicare’s eligibility, whereas most Democrats in Congress are against it. Some of the CBO’s findings warn that raising the eligibility age may lead to more people applying for Medicaid, therefore receiving lower quality care and paying more out-of-pocket than they would on Medicare.
However on the positive side, those between 65 and 67 who need private health insurance could have better access to doctors. This is especially true if Obama’s health care law remains in place. Seniors would have access to private coverage though the new insurance exchanges.
The CBO also found that increasing the Social Security
age in two-month increments for those born between 1949 and 1960 will save an additional $144 billion. However, increasing the Social Security eligibility age has remained politically untouchable by both parties in the 112th Congress.