As I noted two days ago, raising the Medicare age is about the worst thing you could do for your friends, family, and local community. It is a shell game that shifts the burden onto individuals, businesses, and state Medicaid roles. But does nothing in addressing the health care challenges we face over the long term--in both the public and private sectors.
Nobody serious will claim it [raising the eligibility age] fixes Medicare. Of course it does nothing for the broader health system. At best it’s a tweak. Yet some speak of it as if it is the most important thing we can do on entitlements today. Really, it is not.Moreover, it does nothing, absolutely nothing, to increase the efficiency of Medicare or the health system. Contrary to conventional wisdom and all the political hyperventilating, the real problems of the health system are not its cost to the federal government, but the degree of inefficiency of our spending on it, public and private. Shifting spending from one sector (public) to another (private) and piling additional spending on top of that — which is what raising the Medicare age would do — is orthogonal to efficiency enhancement. It has nothing whatsoever to do with it.Thus, it is not only small potatoes, it is huge distraction. It is not entitlement reform. In time, this will be proven. Mark my words, in no more than one year after a law is passed to raise the Medicare age, Medicare will be back in the spotlight. The words “entitlement reform” will be uttered again, and very soon. Will anyone mean it?
Politicians often try to obscure unpopular proposals in euphemisms. Reporters are not supposed to help them in this effort.
The NYT failed badly in this respect when it told readers:
"Republicans would demand deep concessions on spending and changes to Medicare and Social Security as a price to raise the debt ceiling a few weeks later."
Of course the Republicans are pushing for cuts to Medicare and Social Security, not generic "changes." They want the government to pay less money and for beneficiaries to get less money. The NYT should be pointing out this fact, not helping Republicans to conceal an agenda that polls consistently show is hugely unpopular even among Republican voters.
To all you hard-working Americans out there: Call 888-979-9806 TODAY and tell your Representative to make no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but end tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent.