KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Liberal Dems Line Up Against Raising Medicare’s Eligibility Age

Proposals to raise the eligibility age continue to get traction in the fiscal negotiations between the White House and Congress. But liberal Democrats oppose it and express concern that President Barack Obama has not ruled it out.

The Wall Street Journal: Spending-Cut Proposals Drawing Democratic Flak
One big question in Washington's budget talks is whether Republicans will make more concessions on taxes. This week, the counterpoint has started to come into play: What will Democrats swallow on spending cuts? The prospect of cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs is making many Democrats anxious. Of particular concern is Republicans' call for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, an idea that could split Democrats (Hook and Lee, 12/12).

The Hill: Dems Line Up Behind Pelosi Against Changing Medicare Eligibility Age
House Democrats are lining up behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) against raising Medicare's eligibility age as part of a year-end tax-and-spending package. Pelosi rejected raising Medicare's eligibility age in an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today, then doubled down on that position Wednesday. "We want what happens to be fair," she said in an interview on CBS's "This Morning" program. "And one of the things that we object to is raising the Medicare age" (Lillis, 12/12).

The Hill: Report: Liberal Senators United Against Raising Medicare Age
The Senate's liberal wing is upset that President Obama has declined to rule out raising Medicare's eligibility age as part of a deficit-reduction deal, according to a report. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told the Washington Post that in a recent private caucus meeting there was an "overwhelming sense" that the raising the age would be "absolutely unacceptable" to progressive lawmakers (Viebeck, 12/12).

Politico Pro: Conrad: No Need To Raise Medicare Eligibility Age
Outgoing Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad is advocating for a compromise of $500 billion savings in a health care deal, and doesn’t think the Medicare eligibility age needs to be raised to do it. In his farewell speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, the North Dakota Democrat — who has spent much of his career warning about the need for entitlement reform — insisted lawmakers could get all the money they need just by cutting waste in health care spending (Smith, 12/12).

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