Raising The Medicare Eligibility Age Is Still A Bad Idea

I hadn’t seen this poll from the University of Maryland (via @SarahKliff) showing that 59 percent of Americans said that gradually raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 68 was either acceptable or just tolerable, but if I were a super committee member considering this policy as a means for reducing the deficit, I wouldn’t put too much credence into it. First, an overwhelming majority of Americans support Medicare — particularly those who benefit from it — and a majority also favor expanding the program to younger generations (recall that this option was briefly considered during the health care reform debate):

Second, once Americans actually learn about the consequences of raising the age — namely that it simply shifts costs to employers that provide health coverage for their retirees, to Medicare beneficiaries, to younger people who buy insurance through the new health insurance exchanges, and to states and would have little effect on the trajectory of Medicare’s long-term spending — I suspect that any favorable views towards the policy will diminish.