Raising The Medicare Age Is An Anti-99 Percent Policy

In light of the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that raising the Medicare eligibility age would save $148 billion over 10 years — while shifting costs throughout the rest of the health care system — Merrill Goozner and Aaron Carroll remind us that most of those costs “would be imposed on the bottom half of the income distribution.” Here is why: “The chief argument for increasing the eligibility age is that people live longer today than they did 30 or 40 years ago, so total benefits really won’t go down. But longer life expectancy isn’t a universal phenomenon. The life expectancy of people who are in the bottom half of the income distribution barely budged between 1977 and 2007, rising from 80 to 81. Longevity for people in the top half of the income distribution, on the other hand, leaped to 87 in 2007 from 81 in 1977.”