Take Raising Medicare Eligibility Age Off the Table, Please

The ink isn't even dry yet on the horrid compromise budget bill which was supposed to shield Medicare beneficiaries, but already there's renewed talk of raising the eligibility age for Medicare, which now likely will happen since Obama has already said it's okay with him. It will probably be one of the first things the gang of 12 congressional henchman will agree on.

The Wall St. Journal today: [More...]

Health-industry lobbyists and policy experts say Sunday's deal between the White House and congressional leaders effectively opens the door to another round of talks in which lawmakers are likely to weigh increasing the Medicare eligibility age and setting up a means test that might require wealthier people to pay more for the program.

....To hit the $1.5 trillion in spending cuts, the congressional committee is likely to reconsider major changes to Medicare that the White House and congressional leaders put on the table during this summer's debt-ceiling negotiations. President Barack Obama in earlier negotiations floated the idea of raising the Medicare-eligibility age to 67 from 65 in an effort to win Republican concessions. He also said he was open to a means test.

Raising the eligibility age is unacceptable as I wrote here. It's not only incredibly unfair, but bad policy. From Kaiser's July, 2011 revised study:

"Raising Medicare’s age of eligibility would obviously reduce Medicare spending, but would also shift costs onto seniors and employers, and increase costs elsewhere on the federal ledger," said Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Tricia Neuman, who leads the new Kaiser Project on Medicare’s Future.

.... Raising Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 67 in 2014 would generate an estimated $5.7 billion in net savings to the federal government, but also result in an estimated net increase of $3.7 billion in out-of-pocket costs for 65- and 66-year-olds, and $4.5 billion in employer retiree health-care costs, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation projection of the potential change suggested by several deficit-reduction plans. The study also estimates that the change in Medicare eligibility would raise premiums by 3 percent for those who remain on Medicare and for those who obtain coverage through health reform’s new insurance exchanges. The study assumes both full implementation of the health reform law and the higher eligibility age in 2014 in order to estimate the full effect of both the law and the policy proposal.

Not to mention our disability policies end at 65, so for 2 years, from 65 to 67, if we get disabled, we better have good private health insurance -- which at our age costs $1,000 to $1,500 a month -- for a high-deductible policy. Any chance the disability insurance companies will offer to extend our policies another two years to match the new Medicare eligibility age? I didn't think so.

Social Security sends you a statement every year stating how much you have paid over your lifetime in Social Security and Medicare taxes.

How much have you paid? If you are not self-employed, you've paid 6.2 % of your salary up to $106,800 in social security taxes every year, and 1.45 % in Medicare taxes, with no limit.

If you are self-employed, you pay double -- the combined employer and employee amount -- 12.4% of your earnings for Social Security (up to the $106,800 limit) and 2.9% of your net earnings (with no limit) for Medicare -- a whopping 15.3% -- in addition to federal and state income taxes and a host of local taxes. That's hundreds of thousands of dollars over a working adult life.

What's the answer? How do we protect ourselves? Maybe I'll increase my business overhead by buying new computers and fun high tech gadgets, or get a bigger office, or travel to every continuing legal education seminar I can find in cities I want to visit, staying at 5 star hotels, so that my taxable income is so low Medicare and Social Security get virtually nothing from me in the future. It's tempting. Why not spend the money on things I enjoy if the Government is going to renege on its promise after I've paid in for 45 plus years?

Maybe I'll visit more doctors. Shrinks are expensive, but deductible, which again would lower the amount of income on which the Medicare and Social Security tax is based. We could all probably benefit from a little psychotherapy.

Maybe I'll take social security early, before the cuts go into effect. The cuts will probably result in the amount we get at 66 being the same as we get now for age 62.

I'll probably do none of the above, but I really object to forking over 15% of my net income (in addition to federal, state and local taxes) for the next several years, to get bupkis in return.

Raising the age of medicare elibibility won't save the Government money in the long run due to the huge numbers of 65 and 66 year olds who will shift to Medicaid. It will break the backs of small businesses providing health care to elderly workers. It will force middle class, elderly workers who don't have employer-paid health care to pay premiums of ten thousand dollars a year or more for the extra two more years, on top of hefty deductibles and out of pocket costs.

The gang of henchman is at our door. We can't stop them, but Obama can. If Obama doesn't put his foot down on this, he doesn't deserve a second term as Democratic President. Let him run as as Republican or go home to Chicago. He will have sold us out once too often.

< Tuesday Evening Open Thread | Geithner >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Draw the lines. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 11:34:13 PM EST
    Great post.

    Well - where? (4.00 / 3) (#28)
    by smott on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:01:43 AM EST
    Jeralyn -

    Do you have a line in the sand which, should Obama step over it, you'll withhold your vote in 2012?

    I agree with all you say above, but wonder if, no matter how bad it gets, Obama still has your vote?


    Why the downrate? (none / 0) (#48)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    I like the post too, but it makes more sense to me to have Obama earn my vote through his actions. Any other course incentivizes the Ds into their "Look! Over there! behavior.

    because (none / 0) (#53)
    by CST on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 02:20:55 PM EST
    we've been told in the past that it is not kosher on this site to tell other people how they should vote.

    People often get up in arms around here when anyone suggests that they should be voting Dem.  I believe the same standard should be held for the opposite opinion as well.

    It's Jeralyn's vote, and she can use it how she pleases.


    It's one thing to tell (none / 0) (#54)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 02:23:31 PM EST
    But it's another thing to ask. Yes?

    thin line (none / 0) (#55)
    by CST on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 02:35:54 PM EST
    and the time I was personally called out for it by BTD in '08, I was "asking" as well.

    To which I got the response "cut it out, none of your business, we do not allow those types of comments on this site".  Which was a very good point, so I thought I'd pass that on.  

    I suppose an explanation is better than a rating though.


    OK (none / 0) (#58)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:16:53 PM EST
    It's still pertinent, though, regardless of site rules; the argument is that if you give your vote to Obama automatically, you've given up all leverage. And so one gets a lot of venting, and then at the end, "But I'm 100% voting for Obama!" So what is the point?

    there are lots of ways to answer this (none / 0) (#60)
    by CST on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:45:47 PM EST
    There are other things you can do besides vote, like donate money or actively campaign that can also impact things.

    But on a more fundamental level, this is what it comes down to for me -  I do not consider my vote as something to be used as leverage.  I think of it more like a duty to my country.


    Slightly different subject: social security (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 11:35:12 PM EST
    benefits were not taxable until 1983 amendments.  But I assume the taxes received by the federal government do not go into social security benefits.  1983 Amendments also gradually raised the age at which people could receive full social security benefits.  All of this was to "save' social security with the impending doom of baby boomers.  See Wiki.

    Yeah, that Genghis Greenspan (none / 0) (#8)
    by observed on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:37:10 AM EST
    was a liberal humanitarian type,wasn't he?

    Can we take away all their benefits first? (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 12:37:32 AM EST
    Starting at the top . . .

    Jeralyn - typo in the post title: (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:44:31 AM EST
    Should be Eligibility, appears as Elibility...

    It might take a couple hundred thousand 65-year olds - and their children - marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, or well-attended and simultaneous rallies in cities and states all across the country before anyone notices, and even then, I have my doubts about the interest this president and these politicians have in what the people want.

    My theory is that this is the first step to privatizing Medicare: they'll raise the eligibility age but "allow" people to shift onto the exchanges to get "comparable" coverage through private insurance - the endgame there being the eventual elimination of Medicare as a government-administered program, and an ungodly amount of additional revenue for private industry.  This will make sense only to those same people who never have to worry about how they will pay for anything - a group that every member of Congress and the WH falls into.

    Democrats are providing fewer and fewer reasons for people to see them as the ones who make government work for people, to help improve the quality of people's lives, and as those reasons go out the door, so do the reasons for voting for them.  

    Or for anyone, for that matter, if Democrats and Republicans are aligned in their goals.  And really, voter indifference works quite well for those seeking more and more power, so what do they care as long as they get enough votes to declare victory?

    As crazy as Republicans are, it is Democrats who have enabled this turn of events - it is Obama's "transformation" of the party and what it stands for, and those who have cheered what is undeniably Republican policy only because it's been coming out of a Democratic WH, that are responsible for where this is all going.  What "bipartisanship" has meant is loss of ideological tension - and it is that tension that gives principle and policy a fighting chance.

    The country desperately needs someone to primary Obama; I'm seriously not sure we can survive another 5 1/2 years of this.

    The entire emphasis is on (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:26:45 AM EST
    shifting the cost of actual health care to the individual. For all the BS about wanting to provide people with affordable health care, all legislative action to date has been to lower actuarial values that increase the out of pocket expense for care. High premium junk insurance for the peons would be a more accurate description of where the people in D.C. are intentionally going. Make actual health so expensive that the average person can not afford it.

    Prior to starting this race to the bottom on health care, the average actuarial value was 80/20. Our wonderful politicians are aiming for reducing that to 60/40.

    BTW, did I mention that we the taxpayers will continue to provide the AHs in D.C. with fantastic health care.  


    ACA was the first step (4.00 / 1) (#33)
    by waldenpond on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:50:27 AM EST
    Many pointed out that forcing all people into private insurance while squeezing out those in medicaid which actually provides care(which the ACA did) was the first step.

    You'll be happy to know that insurance profits are up and number of people served are down.

    I'm with you, rip the bandage off.  Put this stuff in peoples faces and they will vote it down.


    Unfortunately, I think we are all screwed ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by vector on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 06:55:33 AM EST
    It's not like any major political figure is planning to run against Obama in the primaries, as some sort of left wing opposition candidate.  There is no modern-day Eugene McCarthy out there.  

    Nor will the Repubs run anyone who would take a progressive stand on Medicare / Social Security.

    What's left?  Throw away my on a third party candidate?  Don't vote at all?  

    I don't see a way out of the political wilderness.

    Like I said: I think we are all screwed.    

    If enough of us do it... (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:51:04 AM EST
    vote for one of the also-rans that values our health and quality of life that is, it isn't throwing our vote away, its possibly saving our country, or slowing its slide at least.  It's either that or hit the streets and get arrested....preferably both.

    It's a tough nut, to be sure...the politicians like the status quo, the mainstream media, the uber-wealthy...all getting paid. Its up to the proles.  Maybe we can never win, but we can at least get more bones out of them.  We've failed so miserably at keeping power in check that they don't even see the need to serve bones anymore.


    Ooh kdog...it is throwing it away (none / 0) (#63)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:55:53 PM EST
    A thought: Today's news includes mention of increased bravado (or arrogance, as the case may be) from both Mr. Paul Ryan of the let's privatize Medicare proposal budget approach voted up by the House this spring & Mr. Erick Cantor of the Tea Pot honor roll...where they both indicate that it is their intent to completely revamp Medicare. IOW, even a casual reading of their statements today show that it is the open intent of House Majority Leader Cantor & Budget Chair Ryan--both powerful House Repubs--to follow through with the Medicare overhaul in the next go-round & in a new Congress.  

    On smelling the coffee, I find an odor of a total scuttle attempt with Medicare--not a guess, it is what they are saying with new-found feeling today (And, it is much more than gradated age changes...which I also do not support.) Whether it is the smell of the coffee or not, we can know this: If Y represents Cantor & Ryan et al, it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that X will lose a mathematical proportion to Y as a direct result of that strategy.

    Note: My response is to you because...heck, you don't become as frazzled or threatened as some by this type of obvious pushback discussed in the outer world.  Thanks in advance for allowing any reply to your comment.

    Note 2: There is still lots, lots of time for decisionmaking.  BTW, a bit earlier, I referred to a column written today by Craig Crawford (which I accessed via www.politicalwire.com & its links.)  While the column isn't earth-shattering, it contains some down-to-earth commentary about the timing of the implementation of the debt agreement, the translation generally to dollars, and the probable illusion of it all. Something to consider anyway.


    So you're thinking/suggesting kdog (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:12:11 PM EST
    should drop his principles (or not throw them away) because the Republicans are going to phuck with the social safety net that OBAMA just put on the table to be phucked with by the committee OBAMA's deal created?

    Here's "a thought": the smell off coffee on those two idiots was as plain as day before all this dealing (aka as "compromising") started. OBAMA just gave them a phucking road and a map to go there.

    Note: It has also been plain as day since year 2007 Obama wanted to go there.


    I am not in any way suggesting (none / 0) (#67)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:35:23 PM EST
    that kdog should violate his principles...he would not do that, I believe, nor would I suggest it.

    No need to play word games to try to suggest my trying to shove or push someone who knows his own mind (kdog, of course.) To the contrary, my read of kdog is that he is secure in himself...there is no over-the-top anger, no pretense, no bs.  The reason why I put my comment where I did--as I said--is because kdog appears to consider things.  Not for agreement; just to float a thought for consideration.

    Meanwhile, it is okay to respond without having to demonstrate your outrage by spelling out "phuck" at any opportunity. The issue has a lot to do with options...and, there is still a lot of time...options that involve Ryan/Cantor on the one hand or Dem reps on the other. You might not like to see that...but, without further evidence/facts the distinctions are real & becoming clearer.  (And yes, denial is always a personal option...just like shutting the door or hiding under the bed.)


    If you don't think that special little committee (none / 0) (#68)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:41:32 PM EST
    won't end with a majority repub opinion, I really don't know what to say. I suspect we'll be told it's a victory when all is said and done because we didn't end up with the absolute Ryan plan . . . just something that bleeds pretty badly, but isn't gushing blood . . .

    We are all speculating (none / 0) (#69)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:02:48 PM EST
    But there is every reason to believe that the Committee will deadlock in some fashion or other. That happens historically and may well happen when the election year begins in less than 6 months. (It is a perfect script for "Let the voters decide" ... meaning that the argument will continue in shorter, stronger, programmed format until the next election.)

    If you're right... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 01:07:48 PM EST
    ... then why not "throw your vote away" and just vote on policy and principle?

    Then again, I bet the Whigs were saying "Why throw your vote away on Lincoln" right up until the point when the Whigs were swept into the dustbin of history.


    Socialist Equality Party (none / 0) (#70)
    by Andreas on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 01:52:13 PM EST
    It is not just Obama who represents the capitalist ruling class. The Democratic Party is an anti-democratic and anti-working class party.

    I think I can predict that there will be a Presidential Candidate representing the Socialist Equality Party. Support that campaign to build the revolutionary socialist movement within the United States.


    Cut Social Security or the terrorists will (none / 0) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 11:26:54 PM EST
    kill us in our beds. Or, so claims Joe Lieberman.

    Lieberman, working with Obama BFF Tom Coburn, is working on a plan to cut SS and Medicare to free up that money to pay for defense. They intend to present their plan to the just established super duper Congressional Committee of 12.

    Just read this Think Progress story.When will this man be out of the Senate?  And out of our lives?

    Evidently Lieberman just likes (4.50 / 2) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 11:36:36 PM EST
    to be responsible for killing people. Kill off the old and the sick here to pay for dropping "Freedom Bombs" over there.

    A truly despicable man.


    This is (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by lentinel on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:13:14 AM EST
    the red flag that told me all I needed to know about Obama.

    When I read, in TalkLeft, that Obama had endorsed Lieberman in the primary against Lamont - saying that he hoped the people in Connecticut would have the "good sense" to reelect "Joe" - praising his "intellect" - I knew what we were dealing with.

    And people continued to believe that he was an anti-war candidate.

    When people are desperate, as we all were, to get rid of anything resembling Bush, we tend to ignore the evidence of our own eyes about the alternative. Especially when we are fed unending garbage about "historical", "brilliance", "Kennedy", "rock star" and the rest.

    At this time, I am desperate to get rid of Obama.
    God only knows what the alternative will be.
    And, at this point, I don't even care. Sad to say.

    I do wish that we had a progressive to challenge Obama - but I'm beginning to feel strongly that we have settled into some sort of military dictatorship in disguise. ie: I would not have high hopes of any potential challenger being able to stay alive long enough to see the end of the campaign.


    I'm not a fan of Liebermann. (none / 0) (#64)
    by christinep on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 05:02:20 PM EST
    But, when taking and running with something, it is important to recall all of the Senators that supported him.  Actually, as I recall, just about all of his fellow Dem Senators did...including Hillary Clinton.  It is hard to isolate Obama on this one.

    where does the buck stop? (none / 0) (#6)
    by klassicheart on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:58:39 AM EST
    Why is he any more despicable than Obama?  Does he pretend to be someone other than who he is?

    Because IMO he is a (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:15:52 AM EST
    bigger war monger than Obama. If left up to him, he would bomb the entire Middle East until there was nothing left but Israel.

    From the time of the Clinton impeachment to now, he has IMO proven himself to be a self righteous small and petty man in even way possible.


    Hard to say... (none / 0) (#18)
    by lentinel on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:19:08 AM EST
    When you consider the praised heaped upon Lieberman by Obama:

    "... what I know is, Joe Lieberman's a man with a good heart, with a keen intellect, who cares about the working families of America....
    I am absolutely certain that Connecticut's going to have the good sense to send Joe Lieberman back to the United States Senate."

    He even went on to say that Lieberman was serving in "our behalf".
    "Our" behalf.


    If Obama considered that Lieberman was serving in his behalf, he deserves to be put in the same pen with the object of his affection.

    I may be over the top, but I'm so angry I could...


    I think Lieberman is an useful tool (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:31:40 AM EST
    for Obama.

    Yet all things considered, Lieberman IMO actually salivates over bombing people and sticking it to the poor and middle class. He just seems so gleeful when he does these things that it just ups my ire ten fold.

    I'm beyond angry with what is going on and by the time Obama is through "fixing" things so that many millions more will have difficulty surviving he will ratchet himself into Bush/Lieberman status.

    Right now it is just more useful I think to concentrate on Obama's policy choices and how they will effect people than to delve into personalities where he is concerned.  


    So (none / 0) (#44)
    by lentinel on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 12:10:35 PM EST
    the difference is that Lieberman salivates over bombing people and Obama bombs people and is indifferent to their suffering.

    The people being bombed are just as dead.

    I don't feel that I'm talking about personalities, although I will take this opportunity to say that I consider that Lieberman has the personality of a slug, and Obama has the personality of a fairly slick bullsh*tter.

    In my opinion, Obama has already put himself in the Bush/Lieberman status. His policies have been mostly continuations and refinements of those put in place during the W. era.

    With this latest nightmare - the most recent "deal", I think he has put a significant nail into the coffin of what remains of our democracy - and a major enforcement and augmentation of the gulf between the very rich and the rest of the country.

    As I guess you can tell, I'm not a big fan.


    I really don't disagree with your accessment (none / 0) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:44:39 PM EST
    At this point in time, I made a decision to just to focus on Obama's policies and how they affect people in this country. It has more to do with a decision on how to best to present my POV more than anything.

    Lieberman will soon be (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:03:48 AM EST
    out of the Senate, but he is unlikely to be out of our lives.  Donuts (which are the more valuable) to dollars, Lieberman will be found in a second Obama administration--a Cabinet position such as Homeland Security.  Other possibilities include HHS,  and worst of worst, State.

    If (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:17:38 AM EST
    As an aside, if you've ever visited House of Donuts in Lakewood, you truly would believe tht Donuts are worth more than dollars....


    Have you ever known people to rave that much -- even about food?

    Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.


    Good grief (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:09:00 AM EST
    Talking about a reason to sit home in November of '12 but I'm sure you're right. Lieberman would definitely get something if Obama gets a second term.

    I seriously doubt that (none / 0) (#21)
    by CST on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:15:39 AM EST
    Did everyone here completely forget about Lieberman in '08?  I doubt Obama has.

    Sure, he might like a "team of rivals".  But FWIW, I think he tries to pick rivals that the public actually likes - possibly to get them out of his way and on his side.  If Lieberman gets kicked out of office, he no longer qualifies as a rival, he only qualifies as a jerk.


    Do you (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:19:48 AM EST
    remember how Lieberman was treated directly after the '08 election? Obama went to bat for him to keep his chairmanship did he not?

    Well, I do want (none / 0) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:54:46 AM EST
    to send you my cyber-dollar, but have that cyber-donut ready to go.  Obama has not only accumulated a Doris Kearns-Goodwin team, but "valued"  friends in cabinet and advisor posts (Arne Duncan and Valerie Jarrett).  And, who would complain other than the professional left and this would be an even safer bet in the second term--an easy confirmation.  Lieberman, for a senator not running for re-election, is pretty visible.  If I get my cyber-donus, it is more likely to be because Lieberman is heading off to try, after all these years, the private sector, say an insurance company.

    Heh (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:16:14 AM EST
    "worst of worst, State"

    John Kerry would be piiiiiiissed


    So what? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:20:37 AM EST
    Obama already reneged on his promise to Kerry with Hillary. I'm sure he wouldn't mind doing it again.

    to clarify (none / 0) (#40)
    by CST on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:28:46 AM EST
    I don't think that will in any way influence Obama.

    That last comment was Shadenfreude.


    Finding Lieberman in the a second (none / 0) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:36:45 AM EST
    Obama administration would not surprise me at all. He has been a useful tool for Obama and will probably be rewarded.

    Do it before October. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:12:18 AM EST

    I hope they raise the age to 70 and do it before this October, as my current policy dumps me as soon as Medicare is available.  Medicare is not as good as what I have now.

    Are you paying (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 07:52:37 AM EST
    the full premium by yourself or is your job subsidizing it? Also, good luck keeping your job if you have one because they'll want to get rid of you because of what you are costing the company.

    What an odd question (none / 0) (#24)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:41:38 AM EST

    My labor pays the full amount for all my compensation, just like just about everyone else.  As long as the company makes money on my labor, I am not worried about be gotten rid of.



    I think what Ga6thdem was getting at ... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Yman on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:00:39 AM EST
    ... was that health care costs (and premiums) often rise sharply as a person ages.  Age-based premiums make it likely that an employer will make less money with an older employee.  Plus, there's always the option of hiring a younger, less expensive employee.

    Good for you if you're not worried about losing your job, and if your current health insurance plan is better than Medicare.  Many of us, however, would prefer the government to base its policy decisions on what's better for the citizenry as a whole.


    Labor? (none / 0) (#29)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:13:17 AM EST
    You must be a union man to use that word.



    Point being (none / 0) (#30)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:15:34 AM EST
    they aren't going to be making money on your "labor" at your age because you're going to be medically rated because of age and you are going to make every one's premiums go up so they are more than likely to get rid of you for insurance reasons as anything else.

    And you believe that (none / 0) (#32)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:19:16 AM EST
    they won't let you go as you approach 70?  

    If I understand your comment correctly, (none / 0) (#34)
    by BBQinDenver on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 10:53:04 AM EST
    you believe that the value of the insurance benefit would be paid to you in wages (or in some other benefit) if your employer no longer paid for your insurance.  Just ask the millions of workers whose employers reduced or dropped entirely health benefits:  "How much did your employer increase your other compensation when they no longer paid for your health benefits?"

    Actually (none / 0) (#35)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:06:45 AM EST
    I believe as long as my compensation is less than the value my labor brings to the company there is little chance of being gotten rid of.  The one short term worry is that by Obamacare mandating higher health care costs on employers, marginal employees will face salary reductions or layoffs.  

    Something must be done.


    Then you are (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:19:03 AM EST
    actually a fool if you want to get the age of Medicare raised because you are going to be mandated to be in "Obamacare"

    I was more worried about my daughter (none / 0) (#47)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 12:48:49 PM EST

    She has not been working long enough to develop an in demand skill set.  The cost of an Obamacare  Cadillac health care plan will make her less employable and if employed will leave less of her total compensation on the check.  

    It's not (none / 0) (#51)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 01:29:54 PM EST
    Cadillac care. You can buy junk insurance which is probably what most people your daughter included are going to buy. You can buy that pretty cheaply if she is young. It's not the young that it's going to hurt so much as the aging.

    not for long (none / 0) (#56)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 02:52:28 PM EST

    Obamacare eliminates low cost insurance.

    Mini-med plans and McSurance ... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Yman on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:12:38 PM EST
    ... aren't just "low-cost insurance.

    They're junk insurance.


    You are showing that you know little (none / 0) (#62)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:49:41 PM EST
    about what is contained in Obama's health insurance legislation. The legislation was designed to eliminate Cadillac health care plans.

    I believe our best hope (none / 0) (#23)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 09:39:38 AM EST
    from this sorry mess is that Cat Food Two, like Cat Food One, fails or if it does go forward, that it is voted down.   The enemies of the social safety net did learn their lesson from "One" in that "Two" needs only a majority or seven votes.  No super majority needed here!  Never-the-less, it can easily fail--not because of effective lobbying for the social safety nets, but from efficient lobbying for increased taxes and closed loopholes.  

    In my view, the country will be better off with the default mechanism of auto-cuts, not because the additional discretionary spending cuts it mandates (which will come at a some level in either case) will be painless, but because the auto-cuts do a better job of protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  With a different cast of characters in DC, it will be easier to reconstruct some programs that are cut, but changes in the social safety net, such as eligibility age, are more likely to be irreversible.

    The Medicare auto-cuts do reduce (up to two percent; true, no small amount) payments to providers, which in turn, will ultimately affect beneficiaries, but these cuts will, over time, have a better chance at control or rescission with the support of the hospital/medical interests. Moreover,  Medicaid is critical to the heath and well-being of the poorest among us and is a lynchpin to the implementation of ACA. A Hobson's Choice--no real alternative, the devil we know versus the devils working in hermetically sealed and opaque rooms.

    It is inevitable (none / 0) (#36)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:10:33 AM EST
    The age limit is going to be raised.  It's just a matter of time.  It may not be this year or next, but I predict within the next 10 years, this is going to happen as the huge bubble of baby boomers moves into retirement and fewer younger workers will be working at higher paying jobs to pay into the system.

    Prepare yourselves.  Of course, by then, it won't matter to those who are over 67.

    the only thing (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by CST on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 11:51:02 AM EST
    inevitable in this world is death.  Used to be death and taxes, but taxes don't seem to be inevitable these days if you make enough money...

    2 years ago we were having a serious discussion about lowering the age limit.  I see no reason why we can't ever have that discussion again.  But it's not going to happen if we all just throw up our hands and say "oh well".

    Health care is still a major issue in this country, and I don't expect the ACA to change that.  I imagine we will be having this conversation for many years to come, especially once the ACA is up and running and we can take an honest look at what it does and doesn't accomplish.  Defeatism is not a usefull emotion, IMO.


    so stupid (none / 0) (#45)
    by dandelion on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 12:12:19 PM EST
    If Medicare is truly in trouble, the way to save a troubled risk pool is to expand it, not shrink it.  Lowering the eligibility age to 55 would greatly strengthen Medicare.  Raising the eligibility age only further weakens the problem.

    Anyone with any basic insurance underwriting experience can tell you that.  

    Feature not a bug (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by waldenpond on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 12:41:13 PM EST
    You say that like it's a bad thing.  Millionaire talking heads owned by millionaire networks will tell you why this is good for them.

    So take the centrist position... (none / 0) (#50)
    by lambert on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 01:09:51 PM EST
    ... and go with Medicare for All.

    It is also the fiscal conservative (none / 0) (#61)
    by MO Blue on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 03:46:21 PM EST
    option for those who want to bring down the cost of health care in the most cost effective way.

    Since (none / 0) (#52)
    by chrisvee on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 02:07:51 PM EST
    I'm at the tail end of the baby boom, I fully expect to get royally screwed. And my company long ago gave up providing any post-retirement insurance help.

    Assuming I'm fortunate enough to be able to squirrel away some more money, there don't seem to be a lot of options to preserve -- let alone increase -- my savings.  Maybe I should buy gold or platinum bars.

    Great Post, But Completely... (none / 0) (#65)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 05:40:46 PM EST
    ... out of touch with reality.

    Obama doesn't give an F about the middle class except when there is a mic handy.

    Right now, if all we need to fear is 65 to 67, that would be a fricken dream.  I'm worried about having any sort of health coverage or social security in 25 years.  And I worry about Wall Street playing russian roulette with my retirement, and the politicians right there with them, a day away from crushing the economy to a degree that would require all of us to work an extra decade.  Give me a guaranteed 2 years right now and I will pay money for that security.

    At 41, one of these near misses with the economy isn't going to miss and boom, over night, we will all be set back far more than 2 years.

    I like you post, but it just seems like no one cares, there doesn't seem to be a line that can't be crossed.

    Minor Correction

    you've paid 6.2 % of your salary up to $106,800 in social security taxes every year

    2011    $106,800     $4,485.60*
    2010    $106,800     $6,621.60
    2009    $106,800     $6,621.60
    2008    $102,000     $6,324.00
    2007    $97,500     $6,045.00
    2006    $94,200     $5,840.40
    2005    $90,000     $5,580.00
    2004    $87,900     $5,449.80
    2003    $87,000     $5,394.00
    2002    $84,900     $5,263.80
    2001    $80,400     $4,984.80
    2000    $76,200     $4,724.40
    (*) The maximum employee share in 2011 is reduced to $4,485.60, but the maximum employer share remains at $6,621.60.       

    Wikipedia - Social Security Wage Base