There are so many things wrong with raising the eligibility age that I still can’t believe it’s under consideration. That’s not doubting Klein; it’s just a failure on my part to imagine that data-driven leaders — Republican or Democrat — would propose it. It doesn’t save money; it’s a shell game that just pushes costs around. While it’s possible that lower-income 65 and 66 year olds would be eligible for Obamacare, that means we’d be subsidizing them anyway. Besides there’s no guarantee such subsidies will exist: Republican governors are refusing to expand Medicaid or create the insurance exchanges to make it possible. Even Obama’s new GOP BFF, Chris Christie, says he won’t do it in the blue state of New Jersey. Remember, too, that Obamacare works through the private insurance industry, which has at least five times the administrative costs of Medicare.That's the problem in a nutshell. Lower-income seniors at the mercy of insurers (while they/we can't be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, age as a general factor is a different story).
Frankly, I think Walsh is spot on ... on a hint she has near the end of the column — this could be the opening move to a discussion of privatizing Medicare entirely, even though she thinks this is just a trial balloon.
That said, Joan, what if the GOP says, "OK, we love it!" Then, will the public think it's now his fault, not the GOP's, if we go over an alleged fiscal cliff? There's other signs, such as his talk about how much Latinos will lose, and making such presentations to Latino groups, that Obama may be, if not quite blinking yet, getting kind of twitchy.
Also, "shock me" that Jon Chait thinks this is a good idea. He's got a track record as a neoliberal fellator of Obama. Further "shock me" that he describes it as "a bone to throw the right," rather than "throwing poorer senior citizens under the bus."
The reality? The Washington Post, of all "insiders," actually has a good answer to Lindsay Graham (and Chait, and Obama). While Medicare is in worse shape than Social Security, it's not going bankrupt now, or even 20 years from now. And, even then, only the hospital bills portion of Medicare faces any near-term problems.
Indeed, the Medicare Part A fund from its inception has been on the brink of going “bankrupt.” The Congressional Research Service, in a report titled “Medicare: History of Insolvency Projections,” shows that in 1970 it was due to go “bankrupt” in 1972.So, these worries have been around for decades. Or, these "worries."
And now, with Obama looking to a second term, and with an ongoing Democratic majority in the Senate, but less than 60 votes, and a GOP majority remaining in the House, talk is turning to what Dear Leader plans for a second-term agenda, and how likely it is to succeed, beyond, but including, "fiscal cliff" negotations.