Fox News might not need to invite Republican guests onto their programs any more; the hosts themselves seem to be doing a good enough job of reciting GOP policies live on air.
In the latest example, host Martha MacCallum on Tuesday quizzed Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) repeatedly on why his party wouldn’t raise the Medicare age, going so far as to disagree with surveys the Congressman cited and proposing to find other guests who might accept a different set of facts:
MACCALLUM: But you are reforming the Medicare system because it’s going to go bust in several years, so if you prolong the program and you make the age later — people are living longer, so isn’t that age sort of outmoded and isn’t that a good thing to address long-term?
VAN HOLLEN: There are a lot better ways of doing it. […]
MACCALLUM: But what we’re seeing, though, is people are losing services because what’s happening is doctors are no longer taking Medicare patients. You need to find a different way to get at the problem because they are losing those services as a result of that anyway.
VAN HOLLEN: Actually, Martha, every survey that’s been taken shows that patient satisfaction in the Medicare program is much higher than patient satisfaction in the private health insurance market. That’s been the result of numerous surveys that have been done over the last couple of years.
MACCALLUM: I could introduce you to doctors who would say otherwise and say they are no longer taking Medicare patients as a result of all this.
In fact, Van Hollen is right about patient satisfaction with Medicare. Patients do attest to being more satisfied with the program than with private insurers. Increasing the eligibility age would only save Medicare money by shifting the cost burden onto older Americans who find themselves between the old eligibility age and the new, as well as onto employers and states. And the savings themselves are minuscule. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the change “would have little effect on the trajectory of Medicare’s long-term spending…because younger beneficiaries are healthier and thus less costly than the program’s average beneficiary.”