About Those Medicare Retirement Age “Savings”

At WaPo’s Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff notes that the relatively paltry $5.7 billion first-year savings to the federal government that an increase in Medicare’s retirement age from 65 to 67 would generate will be more than offset by increased costs to the people immediately affected, plus employers, other Medicare beneficiaries, and the states. In fact, in no small part because Medicare is more efficient than private insurance, the new costs ($11.5 billon in FY 2014) would almost double the savings to Medicare.

Other Medicare beneficiaries would face higher premiums because the 65-67 year-old cohort is relatively healthy, and its elimination from the Medicare pool would boost costs. And the whole scheme only works at all, ironically, thanks to Obamacare, which will offer subsidize insurance (either through employers–whose own costs would be affected–or the new health exchanges).

What a deal, eh?

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.