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Senior Citizen Politics
Senate Proposal to Raise Medicare Eligibility Age
Draws Quick Democrat Opposition
Proposal by Senators Coburn, Lieberman would increase
eligible age to 67, save $600 billion
29, 2011 - As negotiations over raising the nation's debt ceiling
continue, two senators - Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Joseph Lieberman,
I-Conn. - advanced a new plan to produce the amount of savings from the
Medicare program need to meet the debt reduction target. The approach,
though, which includes raising the eligibility age to 67, was swiftly
rejected by top Democrats.
Top Democrats Reject New Plan to Cut Medicare
Leading congressional Democrats immediately
recoiled Tuesday from a new proposal to cut $600 billion in Medicare
spending over the next decade in part by raising the eligibility age.
Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) unveiled
the proposal as part of a bipartisan effort to produce the kind of
savings necessary to achieve the $2 trillion in debt reduction both
parties say is needed to convince reticent lawmakers to vote to raise
the debt ceiling, according to a report by
The Washington Post.
The Post reports it would raise Medicare's
eligibility age from 65 to 67 and assess higher premiums on wealthier
seniors. The proposal echoes Republican demands that entitlement reform
especially deep cuts in Medicare spending be a part of any agreement
to raise the nation's debt ceiling. But the swift rejection of the
proposal among Democrats reflects the significant obstacles that remain
to any agreement to cut the deficit and raise the nation's legal
borrowing limit (Helderman and Kane, 6/28).
The Associated Press: Coburn, Lieberman Seek To Raise Medicare
Age To 67
Two Senate rebels jumped into Congress'
cut-the-deficit competition on Tuesday, proposing to raise the age of
Medicare eligibility to 67 and increase monthly premiums for millions of
Democrats reacted with criticism of the
proposal, which Coburn said was designed to rescue the financially
imperiled program and help the nation confront a "wall of debt."
Republicans betrayed no sign of support either (Espo, 6/28).
McClatchy: Senators Offer Bipartisan Plan To Trim Medicare Costs
A bipartisan team of senators aims to raise the
Medicare retirement age to 67 and require the wealthy to pay more for
their care as part of the White House-congressional effort to
dramatically reduce federal deficits.
The plan, authored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman,
I-Conn., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., would save an estimated $600 billion
in the cost of Medicare, the government's health care program for the
elderly and some disabled. While the plan is expected to meet strong
resistance, some of its elements could be incorporated into a bipartisan
deal (Lightman, 6/28).
Los Angeles Times: White House Pushes For Progress On Debt Talks
As Senators Float New Medicare Proposal
Republicans want to extract steep spending cuts in
exchange for their vote to allow more borrowing capacity. Democrats want
to reduce tax loopholes on corporations and wealthy Americans to raise
new revenue, a proposition the GOP has refused. (Mascaro, 6/28).
Bloomberg: Senators Propose Raising Medicare Entrance Age To Cut
Two U.S. senators known for having independent
streaks are proposing to overhaul Medicare by raising the eligibility
age by two years and requiring the wealthy to pay more out of pocket for
care. Senators Tom Coburn, the conservative Oklahoma Republican known
for objecting to legislation, and Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut
independent and former member of the Democratic caucus, introduced their
proposal today. The government projects Medicare, the U.S. health
insurance program for the elderly and disabled, will run out of funds to
pay full benefits in 2024.
"We can't save Medicare as we know it," Lieberman
said in a statement. "We can only save Medicare if we change it"
MarketWatch: Coburn, Liberman Want To Raise Medicare Eligibility
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday
it's "unacceptable" to raise the eligibility age for Medicare. Comments
like that were exactly what Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn,
co-author of the new Medicare reform plan in the former House speaker's
crosshairs, was expecting. But Coburn and Connecticut independent Sen.
Joe Lieberman are pressing on with their plan to, among other things,
gradually raise the eligibility age to 67 and make seniors pay more for
prescription drugs. They say it would save more than $600 billion over a
decade (Schroeder, 6/28).
NPR: Medicare Proposal Could Stress Strapped Seniors
Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Joe Lieberman (I-CT) say
the savings to be realized from their bill would both help reduce the
nation's debt and shore up Medicare's shaking financial situation. Among
other things their bill would combine the current separate deductibles
for Medicare's Part A (hospital and inpatient care) and Part B
(physician and outpatient care) into one single deductible. Because so
few Medicare patients actually use hospital care each year, that would
have the effect of raising out-of pocket spending for the majority of
people on the program (Rovner, 6/28).
Meanwhile, a wonky twist on reality TV
Modern Healthcare: Budget Campaign Produces New 'Reality' TV
This week, the Coalition to Protect America's Healthcare a group of
hospitals, businesses, and national, state and local associations will
get real as it broadcasts the group's earlier-announced campaign to
educate Congress and the public about how proposed cuts to Medicare and
Medicaid will affect America's hospitals.
Although the organization already distributed an ad
in some Beltway publications last month, it is expanding that message on
a larger scale, according to Richard Pollack, executive vice president
for advocacy and public policy at the American Hospital Association, one
of the members of the Coalition that began in 2000. Pollack described
the effort as a "multimillion, multiweek" campaign that will be seen on
the national cable channels MSNBC, Fox and CNN and also broadcast in
local networks. The campaign will also include print and radio spots (Zigmond,
This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report -
a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news
information is reprinted from
kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J.
Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser
Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up
for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All
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