Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the second-ranking Democratic leader in the Senate, said President Barack Obama has taken raising the Medicare eligibility age “off the table” in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
“I was told that it is not on the table from the White House,” Durbin said, “raising the Medicare eligibility age.”
After Obama indicated he may be open to raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, Senate and House Democrats in recent days said they would vote against any deal that raised the Medicare eligibility raise.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said it was “non-starter” and progressives in the House, like Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), refused to support raising the eligibility age.
In an interview with Barbara Walters, Obama said he wanted to “look at every avenue” when it came to Medicare, which led some Democrats to infer that Obama, who during the debt ceiling negotiations in 2011 considered putting raising the Medicare eligibility age on the table, would offer to raise the eligibility age for Medicare in exchange for a increase of the debt ceiling.
After pressure from his own party, though, it appears as if Obama has backed down.