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Senior Citizen Politics

Increasing Age for Medicare Eligibility Appears Off the Table for White House

Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin says he got the info from the White House; major issue for House leader Nancy Pelosi; hot button for GOP

Dec. 13, 2012 - There is good news for baby boomers pressing age 65 - the Associated Press is reporting that an increase in the age for Medicare eligibility is no longer being considered by the Democrats as an option in negotiations with Republicans on avoiding the "fiscal cliff."

The source was Illinois Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, who told reporters that he did not get the information directly from the president or the White House. But he is regularly apprised of the status of negotiations. (AP story by Andrew Taylor)


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"I was told it's not on the table from the White House," Durbin said. "Now that remains to be seen."

The eligibility age has been a hot button issue for Republicans focused on cuts to the entitlement programs - Medicare and Social Security.

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that the prospect of cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs is making many Democrats anxious. Of particular concern is Republicans' call for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, an idea that could split Democrats.

Although, House Democrats are lining up behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) against raising Medicare's eligibility age as part of a year-end tax-and-spending package, according to a report this morning in The Hill.

Pelosi rejected raising Medicare's eligibility age in an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today, then doubled down on that position Wednesday. "We want what happens to be fair," she said in an interview on CBS's "This Morning" program. "And one of the things that we object to is raising the Medicare age" (Lillis, 12/12).

The AP story also reports that “Durbin's remarks came as a frustrated House Speaker John Boehner again accused President Barack Obama of dragging out negotiations on any agreement to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts that will automatically be triggered in less than three weeks. The two sides appear far apart, and Boehner is scheduled to return home to Ohio on Friday, his office confirmed, though he remains available for negotiations by phone.”


Some of this information is reprinted from 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 rights reserved.


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