The ferocious pushback on a trial balloon offer to raise the Medicare eligibility age continues, now at a very high level.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday December 12, 2012 7:00 am|
|By: David Dayen Monday December 10, 2012 6:35 am|
Staffers in this White House in particular float trial balloons on a continual basis on virtually every issue of importance to gauge public response, and the whole point of that exercise is to actually respond to it rather than not take it seriously. And if that’s the case, and the eligibility age conversation represented a trial balloon, I think we can say it’s been effectively and efficiently popped. Because over the weekend, Dick Durbin, perhaps the closest US Senator to the White House, criticized the idea.
|By: David Dayen Saturday December 8, 2012 12:00 pm|
So my old college pal Jon Chait has responded to my criticism of his endorsement of raising the Medicare eligibility age, America’s worst new idea. I’ll get to batting that around in a moment.
As the kerfuffle was happening, however, this has become less of an academic argument. Ezra Klein writes that raising the Medicare eligibility age could become the centerpiece of a deal, based on what “smart folks in Washington” say.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 7, 2012 8:06 am|
Since Jon Chait has never met a concession he didn’t like, he comes out with an endorsement of raising the Medicare eligibility age as part of a long-term deficit deal. So his cover for what is universally regarded as a terrible idea surely led deficit scolds seeking to use the problem to weaken the safety net to give each other high-fives.
Let’s look at Chait’s reasoning. I would probably start with the fact that he’s not 64 or 65. My parents are, and until my dad reached Medicare in November, they were paying $2,500 a month on the private market for health insurance. So I’ll be happy to provide him with their phone number so he can tell them how it’s “tolerable” for them to spend two years more than they expected doing that.
But soft! Here are his actual reasons.
|By: David Dayen Thursday November 29, 2012 9:29 am|
Politico’s VanDeAllen team have a exclusive inside must-credit-Politico rundown of the fiscal cliff talks that merely recycles known information and makes a bunch of guesses.
|By: David Dayen Friday November 16, 2012 5:47 am|
It’s clear that Democrats need the pressure.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday August 22, 2012 9:40 am|
The story I covered on Sunday about how the Romney-Ryan campaign would have to cut current Medicare benefits because of the box they’ve shoved themselves into by promising to “restore $716 billion in Medicare cuts” finally gets picked up by the New York Times in a front-page story. If the story gets a bigger platform, all the better. But I don’t think Jackie Calmes did a complete job of explaining this, so let me try again.
|By: David Dayen Sunday August 19, 2012 5:00 pm|
This is the action that gets the Romney campaign out of the box where it has confined themselves. They have said that they would entertain no Medicare changes for current or near-retirees. But with no changes, and indeed with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare trust fund runs out of money in 2016, at which point you have to make a number of drastic changes because otherwise your spending authority runs out. So in exchange for giving more subsidies to Medicare Advantage, and more payments to hospitals and health care providers who already voluntary gave them back in the ACA deal for more covered customers, Romney would have to do something like increase the eligibility age, and do it sometime in the first term.
|By: David Dayen Monday March 19, 2012 12:01 pm|
The Washington Post has a first draft of history on the debt negotiations last year. It tells us mostly what we already knew: the White House was ready to sign onto a document that increased the Medicare eligibility age and instituted chained CPI, cutting Social Security cost-of-living increases. In exchange would be $800 billion in new taxes, roughly the cost of letting most of the high-end Bush tax cuts expire. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi reluctantly agreed to try and sell this. That basic deal is still on the table and will be relevant again.