Speaker doesn't foresee increase in Medicare eligibility age this year

The Hill: Boehner: Raising Medicare Age Can Wait Until Next Year
Congress doesn't need to raise the Medicare eligibility age this year, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday. Raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67 was on the table in earlier debt talks, and has been floated again as Boehner and President Obama look for a way to avoid the looming fiscal cliff. Republicans have insisted that increases in tax rates must be accompanied by cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare. But Boehner's most recent proposal calls for higher rates on taxpayers making more than $1 million per year, and he said Tuesday that raising the Medicare age can wait for a broader package of tax and entitlement reform next year (Baker. 12/18).

CQ HealthBeat: Boehner Says Medicare Eligibility Age Issue Can Wait Until Next Year
House Speaker John A. Boehner indicated Tuesday that he would not insist on raising the Medicare eligibility age as part of a fiscal cliff package and that the issue could be addressed next year as part of a larger overhaul of entitlement programs. At a morning news conference, the Ohio Republican was asked how strongly he feels that the Medicare eligibility age needs to be part of a deal. Although President Barack Obama entertained the idea during debt limit negotiations in 2011, Democrats in both chambers have expressed strong opposition to the change over the past few weeks. "That issue has been on the table, off the table, back on the table. It's an issue for discussion. But I don't believe it's an issue that has to be dealt with between now and the end of the year," Boehner said. "It is an issue, I think, if Congress were to do entitlement reform next year and tax reform, as we envision, if there's an agreement that issue will certainly be open to debate in that context" (Attias, 12/18).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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