Viewpoints: Pelosi says higher Medicare age 'doesn't work;' Marketplace's clout could lower seniors' drug costs

Published on December 12, 2012 at 11:49 PM · No Comments

USA Today: Truth About Medicare Age
(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. Such a proposal is a reflection of the broader Republican plan: an assault on the middle class, seniors -- and our future (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, 12/11). 

The New York Times: The 2,000-Year-Old Wonder Drug
The inexorable rise in health care spending, as all of us know, is a problem. But what's truly infuriating, as we watch America's medical bill soar, is that our conversation has focused almost exclusively on how to pay for that care, not on reducing our need for it. In the endless debate about "health care reform," few have zeroed in on the practical actions we should be taking now to make Americans healthier (David B. Angus, 12/11).

Los Angeles Times: When Government Does Things Better Than Private Enterprise
There seems to be a consensus developing that raising (Medicare eligibility) age to 66 or 67, from today's 65, would be a fairly painless way of demonstrating our commitment to fiscal responsibility. You're all living longer, so what's the big deal? -; you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of Medicare, if you're a little more patient. Best of all, the change would save the federal budget $5.7 billion in 2014 alone. ... What's on the other side of the Medicare-age ledger? (Michael Hiltzik, 12/11).

The Washington Post's The Plum Line: Raising Medicare Age Could Leave Hundreds Of Thousands Uninsured
It looks increasingly possible that lawmakers will reach a fiscal cliff deal that includes a hike in the Medicare eligibility age -; a concession to those on the right who seem determined to see very deep entitlement cuts, even if they take benefits away from vulnerable seniors. One argument for raising the eligibility age is that seniors who lose benefits can get insurance through Medicaid or the Obamacare exchanges. But a new report to be released later today undercuts that argument -; and finds that up to half a million seniors could lose insurance if the eligibility age is raised (Greg Sargent, 12/11). 

Huffington Post: Seniors Shouldn't Have To Pay More To Medicare To Pad Drug Company Profits
People in Washington are talking about raising Medicare costs for some beneficiaries. That's the wrong way to address our budget deficit. Instead we should allow Medicare to use its marketplace clout to negotiate better prices or rebates for prescription drugs. That would produce significant savings. Proposals to raise seniors' costs, including means-testing and raising the eligibility age for Medicare, miss the mark (Ethan Rome, 12/11).

Baltimore Sun: The Other, More Dangerous, Cliffs
The "fiscal cliff" isn't nearly the biggest cliff we face -- if we're talking about dangerous precipices looming on the horizon. Here are three: The child poverty cliff. A staggering number of our children are impoverished. Between 2007 and 2011, the percentage of American school-age children living in poor households grew from 17 percent to 21 percent. Last year, according to the Agriculture Department, nearly 1 in 4 young children lived in a family that had difficulty affording sufficient food at some point in the year. Yet federal programs to help children and lower-income families -- such as food stamps, federal aid for poor school districts, Pell grants, child health care, subsidized lunches, child nutrition, prenatal and postnatal care, Head Start and Medicaid -- are being targeted for cuts by deficit hawks who insist we can no longer afford them (Robert Reich, 12/12).

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