On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Democrats would not agree to raising the age for Medicare eligibility.
Pelosi first wrote an op-ed in USA Today to argue raising the Medicare eligibility age would be “unfair”:
Yet in the talks to avert the fiscal cliff, the idea of raising the Medicare age is central to the Republican proposal. There’s just one critical problem: It doesn’t work. It doesn’t have public support. It’s unfair. And it doesn’t lower health expenditures.
Pelosi then went on CBS’s “This Morning” and said Democrats would “object” to raising the Medicare eligibility age. Democrats in the House and Senate backed Pelosi.
“I haven’t heard any Democrat in our caucus say they’re open to raising the eligibility age,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, according to The Hill.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), speaking for many Senate Democrats, said raising the Medicare eligibility age would be a “nonstarter.”
In January, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the savings from a potential increase in the Medicare eligibility age:
… increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67 — in two-month increments starting in 2014 — would save Medicare $148 billion over the next decade. But because many seniors would shift to other federal programs — like Medicaid or federally subsidized insurance exchanges created by the Democrats’ healthcare law — the net deficit savings over the same span would be $113 billion.
Earlier in the week, the White House left open the possibility of potentially agreeing to raise the Medicare age. Analysts believe the Obama administration would only agree to do so in exchange for an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling as part of a broader budget deal to avert the fiscal cliff.