Quote of the Day

"When you talk about raising the Medicare eligibility age, there's one key question—what happens to that early retiree? What about that gap in coverage between their workplace and Medicare? How will they be covered? Now I listen to Republicans say we can't wait to repeal Obamacare and the insurance exchanges. Well, where does a person turn if they're 65 years of age and the Medicare eligibility age is 67? They have two years there where they may not have the best of health. They need to have accessible, affordable medical insurance during that period."Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, on Meet the Press this weekend, after reports that the White House was considering, as part of the "fiscal cliff negotiations," raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 in exchange for a modest tax hike.

It's important for Durbin (and Pelosi, et. al.) to keep publicly reiterating what a terrible idea this is and putting pressure on the administration not to make this concession.

Krugman, in typical style, lays it out plainly (emphases mine):
I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that this is just a case of creeping Broderism, that it's a VSP fantasy about how we're going to resolve this in a bipartisan way. Because if Obama really does make this deal, there will be hell to pay.

First, raising the Medicare age is terrible policy. It would be terrible policy even if the Affordable Care Act were going to be there in full force for 65 and 66 year olds, because it would cost the public $2 for every dollar in federal funds saved. And in case you haven't noticed, Republican governors are still fighting the ACA tooth and nail; if they block the Medicaid expansion, as some will, lower-income seniors will just be pitched into the abyss.

Second, why on earth would Obama be selling Medicare away to raise top tax rates when he gets a big rate rise on January 1 just by doing nothing? And no, vague promises about closing loopholes won’t do it: a rate rise is the real deal, no questions, and should not be traded away for who knows what.

...And if it does happen, the disillusionment on the Democratic side would be huge. All that effort to reelect Obama, and the first thing he does is give away two years of Medicare? How's that going to play in future attempts to get out the vote?

If anyone in the White House is seriously thinking along these lines, please stop it right now.

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