This story on Medicare actually really looks at medical costs:
Let’s focus on those 65- and 66-year-olds. In Medicare, they’re currently the youngest and healthiest people. So by delaying their entry into the program, says Neuman, you raise costs for everyone else already there.
The result would be that “people on Medicare pay higher premiums,” she said. “That’s because you’re taking the healthiest people out of the Medicare risk pool, leaving sicker people to pay higher premiums.”
At the same time, those same 65- and 66-year-olds would be the oldest and, likely, among the sickest people remaining in the insurance pools of the working-age population, particularly in the new health insurance exchanges.
To be clear, raising Medicare’s eligibility age would save money for the half-trillion-dollar-a-year Medicare program — and for the federal government as a whole. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicare spending would drop by about 5 percent a year. And at the same time, federal tax revenues would increase slightly because some of those 65- and 66-year-olds would remain in the workforce and continue to pay taxes.
But overall, according to a separate study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the savings to the federal government would be more than offset by additional costs to states, individuals and employers — about $1 billion more in 2014 alone.
We as a society should be most concerned with the total cost of healthcare (I don’t care if I pay directly or indirectly), which means as long as we believe that people deserve healthcare we really should not want to raise the eligibility age for Medicare since that increases the total cost. On the other hand if we don’t care if people have healthcare, the choice is easy–cut Medicare and don’t worry if that means more people don’t have healthcare (and die–of course some people do think we should let them die). Now which side are Republicans on:
“I don’t think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC’s This Week last Sunday. “Let it float up another year or so over the next 30 years, adjust Medicare from 65 to 67.”
What a surprise.