The “new” death panel: raising the age of Medicare eligibility

At least for lower wage earners:

Andrew Sullivan: We know that average life expectancy went up less than 5 years overall in this period. But what’s somewhat stunning is how much of a disparity there is in these gains. The top half of earners gained more than 5 years of life at age 65. The bottom half of earners, though, gained less than a year. [...] If you raise the age of eligibility by two years, then you are taking away more years of Medicare than half the country gained in longer life. Moreover, we’ve already taken away these people’s Social Security. The Greenspan Commission in the early 1980s made it so that the retirement age is already 66. It’s scheduled to rise to 67. So those at the bottom half of the socioeconomic ladder have already lost more years of Social Security than they’ve gained in years of life expectancy at 65.

Life_Expectacy

Pres. Obama and Minority Leader Pelosi on raising the eligibility age of Medicare

President Obama: “When you look at the evidence it’s not clear that it actually saves a lot of money. But what I’ve said is let’s look at every avenue, because what is true is we need to strengthen Social Security, we need to strengthen Medicare for future generations, the current path is not sustainable because we’ve got an aging population and health care costs are shooting up so quickly.” [from an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters which aired Tuesday night.]

Nancy Pelosi: “On paper, it appears to save money for the federal government. In practice, it simply shifts the cost of health care to newly uninsured 65- and 66-year-olds, forcing them to pay more for their care out of their own pockets. It makes older Medicare beneficiaries pay higher premiums.” [from a USA Today op-ed published on Tuesday.]

Sounds like a “no” to me.