“Some observers and politicians insist there is little choice but to raise the Medicare age to 67. With the US economy having seen better days, many people argue that the federal government is obligated to find ways to trim spending—and people calling for a rise in the Medicare eligibility age vehemently argue that making most Americans wait two more years to get Medicare is a necessity if Medicareis to remain financially stable in coming years.
Although similar debate has surfaced before, the Medicare eligibility age for most Americans has stayed steady at 65 ever since Medicare was introduced in 1965. But whether the Medicare age will remain 65 for much longer seems to be anyone’s guess.
Those calling for a change in the Medicare age argue that it will save money and help keep government and healthcare expenditures in check. But are they right?
The answer is far from unanimous. However, while observers have different opinions about whether raising the Medicare age would be good for the country, there does seem to be general agreement that a rise in the Medicareage would decrease expenditures directly related to Medicare. Medicare Advocacy, Inc., reports that “in 2014 alone, a full raise in the eligibility age would save $15.7 billion for the federal government.”*1 The same organization, which seeks to inform the public about Medicare-related topics, estimates that delaying Medicare eligibility until 67 would save the federal government nearly $150 billion over ten years.
Figures such as these have led some key members of the Republican party, including 2012 Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, to come out in favor of raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Some members of the Democratic party, meanwhile, reportedly have given signs they are considering doing likewise.
While there are no indications Pres. Obama is considering raising the Medicareage, some commentators argue that changing the eligibility age to 67 might help bolster support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, which the President staunchly stands behind. One provision of the ACA requires most Americans to have health insurance by 2014. If people approaching Medicareage are excluded from Medicare until age 67 it is widely believed that many will depend on other provisions of the ACA to ensure they have insurance to tide them over until they qualify for Medicare.”