On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond reiterated the Association’s opposition to including an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as part of a year-end budget deal. She offered the following statement:
“Medicare provides the bedrock of health security for more than 47 million Americans today and must be preserved and strengthened for seniors, their kids and grandkids, and future generations. Proposals to increase the Medicare eligibility age simply shift costs onto beneficiaries and do nothing to lower health care costs. In fact, this idea would dramatically increase costs for younger seniors, drive up premiums for those in Medicare, increase costs to businesses and states, and raise health care costs overall.
“Raising the age would force 65- and 66-year-olds into the private market, costing them an estimated $2,000 a year or more. Even in the Exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, seniors will pay three times more for insurance than younger individuals.
“At the same time, removing the youngest and generally healthiest older Americans from Medicare would result in higher premiums for those remaining in the program. Adding older Americans to private insurance risk pools will drive up employer health care costs and premiums for those in the private market. And many low-income seniors would turn to Medicaid, increasing costs to the states.
“Medicare faces long-term financial challenges that must be addressed, and we have urged elected officials to confront the program’s challenges in a way that is fair for current seniors and future generations. We need to put Medicare on stable ground by making health care more efficient, not by taking away affordable and needed coverage. And we need to improve health care by lowering costs and reducing waste, not simply by asking people to pay more.
“On behalf of our 37 million members and all Americans, AARP will continue to fight for an open, thoughtful public discussion about how to strengthen retirement security programs, and against hurting the economic security of Americans of all ages by cutting Medicare in a rushed end-of-year deal.”
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