Initially, 63 percent of boomers in the poll dismissed the idea of raising the eligibility age to keep Medicare afloat financially. But when the survey forced them to choose between raising the age or cutting benefits, 59 percent said raise the age and keep the benefits.Am I missing something? Suppose that I live to be 75 and that starting at 65 my Medicare benefit averages $500 per year for a total payout of $5000. If the eligibility age is raised to 70, the payout drops to $2500. How is that not cutting benefits?
The choice offered here is not between cutting benefits or raising eligibility age, it's between cutting benefits and cutting benefits. Medicare is in increasingly desperate need of reform, but raising the age of eligibility in a time of high unemployment and to an age higher than many people can work under any circumstances leaves people desperately hoping that they don't get sick between the ages of 65-69.
Here's a thought: Everybody buys health insurance under the auspices of a single program, with premiums determined by income and community rating, and basic coverage sold on a nonprofit basis. Remove a drag on wages and salaries by eliminating the employer tax exemption (not to mention the subsidy paid by the self-insured and uninsured), and get the government out of the insurance business while retaining its regulatory role.
What the heck: