Politico’s David Nather pressed Tom Coburn on his proposal to raise the Medicare eligibility age and wondered if the senator was at all concerned that younger seniors (those between the ages of 65 and 67) would go uninsured if the exchanges in the Affordable Care Act were also repealed. Coburn notes that his latest proposal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) assumed that the law remains enact, but said he wouldn’t mind increasing eligibility even if seniors had no clear alternative for obtaining coverage:
NATHER: You say you made a choice to assume that the Affordable Care Act survives in your legislation with Sen. Lieberman, but you don’t have to. What is your feeling if the eligibly age becomes a point of compromise on the deficit, is it necessary for Republicans to assume that at least the exchanges and guarantee issue survive?
COBURN: It doesn’t have to. The fact is we have a difficulty right now with people who are retiring — if they’re retiring before 65 or they’re retiring before 67 which we would propose eventually getting to — they have a difficulty buying an insurance product. But again, our big problem in health care is that a third of the dollars we spend in health care doesn’t help anybody.
Note that rather than discussing strategies for expanding coverage to those he would literally push out of Medicare, Coburn embarks on a rant about identifying waste in the system and reducing spending. One wonders if Romney — who also repeals the health law while increasing the Medicare age — would agree with this answer.