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Old 12-10-2012, 12:56 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Raising Medicare's age limit.

It's been reported multiple times now that an age limit increase is on the table in the fiscal cliff talks.

Obviously, this is not going to be terrifically popular, and in my opinion I don't even think it'd be particularly smart. Raising the Medicare age doesn't reduce healthcare costs, it just reduces government healthcare costs, keeping seniors on the expensive private plans we introduced Medicare to save them from. Healthcare is not improved in any way as a result of it, and any and all forms of Medicare reform should be aimed at making the system work better -- savings should be the target, not cuts. Lord know there are many ways this can be had, and has already been had.

That said, if you're going to raise it, Ezekiel Emanuel introduces a really great way to do it: graduated eligibility.

Medicare eligibility stays the same for folks in the lower third of lifetime income levels. Medicare eligibility rises two to three years for folks in the middle third of lifetime income levels. And Medicare eligibility rises four to six years for folks in the highest third.

People in the lower third need Medicare the most, and the wealthiest need it the least. People in the lower third live the least healthy lifestyles due to lack of resources and, of course, tougher work over their lifetimes. The wealthier live on average six years longer, and have enough of their own resources to afford private insurance another few years as opposed to everybody else.

Again, I'd rather us take other methods of enacting savings on Medicare, but if this is something we're going to do, let's do it in a responsible way that doesn't strand the least wealthy seniors in a disproportionately tough healthcare situation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ment-benefits/

Entitlement Reform For the Entitled
By EZEKIEL J. EMANUEL
May 20, 2012, 9:51 pm455 Comments

IF nothing is done about entitlement spending, and if our current tax breaks continue, then by 2025, tax revenue will be able to pay for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, interest on the debt and nothing else. The rest — defense, medical research, highways, education, energy — will have to be financed by deficits. Social Security’s funding is predicted to run short in 2033, Medicare’s trust fund in 2024.

Like much else in Washington, there is little bipartisan agreement on what to do about it. When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, Republicans emphasize cuts and privatization, while Democrats strongly oppose both approaches. Neither side was able to embrace the 2010 bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan, which proposed lowering Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustments, increasing the taxable maximum income and raising the eligibility age to 69 by 2075.

But here is a better bipartisan reform: Graduated eligibility. Instead of having a fixed age at which people can get Social Security and Medicare, we should link the age of eligibility to lifetime wealth. The richer you are, the older you would have to be to be eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

Here’s how it would work. People in the bottom half of the lifetime earnings distribution would become eligible for normal retirement benefits at age 65 for Medicare and 66 for Social Security, just as they are today. But people in the next quarter of the lifetime earnings distribution would become eligible for the respective programs at 67 and 68, and those in the top quarter would become eligible at 70 and 71. All eligibility ages would increase over time, as they are scheduled to now.

In all income brackets, those choosing to retire later than the standard age would still receive higher Social Security benefits, called delayed-retirement credits. For those choosing to retire earlier and accept reduced benefits, on the other hand, nothing would change in the lower bracket, while the minimum age would increase in the two higher income brackets. And wealthier older people would have the choice of buying into Medicare at age 65, though they would have to pay for it before the age of 70.

Demographic changes since Social Security was first enacted are a good argument for raising the retirement age. In 1935, a man who reached the age of 65 was likely to live almost 13 more years (and a woman, almost 15). But today, Americans who reach 65 are likely to live nearly 19 more years.

But graduated eligibility also accounts for the fact that the rich live longer than the poor, and that the longevity gap is increasing. In 2007, the Social Security Administration did a study of mortality and income. Among 65-year-old men born in 1922, those with income in the top half lived an average of 2.2 years longer than those in the bottom half. But among 65-year-old men born in 1941, those with income in the top half were projected to live an average of 5.3 years longer. Thus, requiring wealthier Americans to wait five more years to claim Social Security and Medicare has the effect of giving an average rich and an average poor person nearly the same number of years of benefits.

This reform also combines several important values. The main reason Social Security and Medicare have such strong public support is that they are universal benefits; they are not just for the poor. With graduated eligibility, all Americans will still get benefits, regardless of income; the only thing that changes is when. And because the rich, on average, would live longer and get the same number of years of benefits as those in lower income brackets, the plan should appeal to those who still feel strongly that everyone should pay their fair share.

It also makes practical sense. Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution are more likely to have jobs in manual labor, which is more physically difficult for older people to perform. White-collar workers in the upper bracket don’t face the same physical demands. And their greater earnings mean they should be able to save more to support themselves longer.

Graduated eligibility should be based on lifetime earnings instead of any particular year’s income, which can be quite volatile. It would be administratively simple to determine each citizen’s lifetime earnings, because the Social Security Administration already has all this data. And this measure would have the benefit of encouraging personal responsibility; people making more than the median income would have an incentive to save. Anyone who earned a lot at one time but frittered it away would have to continue working longer.

Either in the lame duck Congressional session after the election or in 2013, there will surely be debate about a deal to address taxes and the deficit. Graduated eligibility should be on the table. It would not completely close the shortfall of the trust funds, but it would put Social Security and Medicare on a stronger financial footing, while reaffirming their universal nature and reflecting the fortunate fact that Americans are living longer.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:53 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
See, you're confusing me here.

How would we quantify somebody's health and apply it to an appropriate age at which they can become eligible for Medicare?
It doesn't seem that hard for insurance companies to determine when someone has a pre-existing condition so for starters, we should be able to determine whether people have some pre-existing condition when they turn 65. But beyond that, when the person gets sick, they get sick. What's so hard to understand here?
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:56 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
It doesn't seem that hard for insurance companies to determine when someone has a pre-existing condition so for starters, we should be able to determine whether people have some pre-existing condition when they turn 65. But beyond that, when the person gets sick, they get sick. What's so hard to understand here?
Do you have anything I can read on the subject? Or is this an idea you've conjured on your own.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:23 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Do you have anything I can read on the subject? Or is this an idea you've conjured on your own.
It's an idea that was stimulated by the obvious flaws in the OP approach.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:37 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
It's an idea that was stimulated by the obvious flaws in the OP approach.
So... nobody's suggested your idea that you know of?
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:30 PM   #35
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Let's make Republicans happy and raise both Medicare and SS to 100 so we never have to pay again. Its ridiculous that SS, which hasn't added anything to the deficit, is part of deficit reductions. Its also ridiculous that we need to hurt the middle class by raising the age to qualify for medicare benefits. Why is nobody talking about defense cuts when military expenditures have risen 50% since 2001. We are spending 40% of the world's total military budget. Why are we in an arms race against ourselves?
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:29 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by whoman69 View Post
Let's make Republicans happy and raise both Medicare and SS to 100 so we never have to pay again. Its ridiculous that SS, which hasn't added anything to the deficit, is part of deficit reductions. Its also ridiculous that we need to hurt the middle class by raising the age to qualify for medicare benefits. Why is nobody talking about defense cuts when military expenditures have risen 50% since 2001. We are spending 40% of the world's total military budget. Why are we in an arms race against ourselves?
Or eliminate both programs entirely. That is ultimately what they want.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by whoman69 View Post
Let's make Republicans happy and raise both Medicare and SS to 100 so we never have to pay again. Its ridiculous that SS, which hasn't added anything to the deficit, is part of deficit reductions. Its also ridiculous that we need to hurt the middle class by raising the age to qualify for medicare benefits. Why is nobody talking about defense cuts when military expenditures have risen 50% since 2001. We are spending 40% of the world's total military budget. Why are we in an arms race against ourselves?
Evidently you haven't watched the new Red Dawn movie.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #38
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Or eliminate both programs entirely. That is ultimately what they want.
Yes, republicans want to eliminate both programs that they've paid into their entire lives.

They also use $100 bills to start bonfires.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:02 PM   #39
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Yes, republicans want to eliminate both programs that they've paid into their entire lives.

They also use $100 bills to start bonfires.
Not necessarily the constituents, but the people they elect. Although, I am sure there are quite a few insane members of the party that want the programs eliminated.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:03 PM   #40
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Yes, I know. Poor people looking for the most affordable healthcare are thieves. I got that.
Says the guy who thinks he is entitled to everyone else's money.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:05 PM   #41
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Yes, republicans want to eliminate both programs that they've paid into their entire lives.

They also use $100 bills to start bonfires.
True or false: the Ryan budget has been saluted by the Republican Party for about three years straight.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:06 PM   #42
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Says the guy who thinks he is entitled to everyone else's money.
You are adorable.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:58 AM   #43
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True or false: the Ryan budget has been saluted by the Republican Party for about three years straight.
True or false: the Ryan budget maintains a Medicare program involving subsidized health care insurance for seniors.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:22 AM   #44
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True or false: the Ryan budget maintains a Medicare program involving subsidized health care insurance for seniors.
That's pretty liberal usage of the phrase "a Medicare program."

An effective privatization of Medicare means that it is no longer Medicare. It becomes a premium support model, which is not what the Medicare we know is, even if we decide to keep calling it Medicare.

So to answer mylonsd: yes, Republicans want to cut a program they've been paying into for years and years. They want to replace it with a premium support model.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:37 AM   #45
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Why should we be less willing to raise eligibility on the lowest third of wage earners?

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