KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Romney Calls For Raising Medicare Age Gradually To 67

The candidate detailed some of his Medicare plan in front of a crowd of about 1200 people on Friday in Michigan, according to news accounts.

The Associated Press: Romney Would Raise Eligibility Age For Medicare
Four days before critical primary elections, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney outlined a far-reaching plan Friday to gradually delay Americans’ eligibility for Medicare as well as Social Security. ... Romney said his proposals for Medicare and Social Security would begin in 2022, meaning no current or near-retirees would be affected. He also said he favors adjustments to curtail the growth of future benefits for the relatively well-to-do, so "lower-income seniors would receive the most generous benefits" (Espo, 2/24).

Detroit Free Press: Romney: Detroit 'Must Be The Motor City Of The World' 
"Starting in 2022, new retirees will participate in this new system. We will gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age by one month each year. In the long run, the eligibility ages for both programs will be indexed to longevity so that they increase only as fast as life expectancy," he said (Gray, 2/24).

National Journal: Romney Touts His Economic Plan, Wife’s Cadillacs 
He also called for partially privatizing Medicare. Beneficiaries would choose among traditional Medicare and the private sector, which would have to compete to offer insurance coverage "at the lowest possible price," he said. (Boxer, 2/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney Offers Medicare Plan 
Medicare, which Americans are entitled to beginning at age 65, is a prominent driver of the federal government's ballooning long-term debt ... Those who favor raising Medicare's eligibility age point out it hasn't kept pace with increasing life expectancies. When Medicare was passed in 1965, the average life expectancy was about 70 years. Currently, it is around 80 years ... In a report last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found ... seniors whose access to Medicare was delayed would pay more for their health care (Murray and King Jr., 2/25).

McClatchy Newspapers: Romney Trumpets Economic Plan As Analysts GOP Proposals
Apart from Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the GOP presidential candidates' plans are largely similar. All want lower taxes, big spending cuts and changes in Social Security and Medicare. Paul alone proposes plans that, if enacted, would reduce the national debt over time. ... In the long run, Romney said, eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare would be tied to longevity "so that they increase only as fast as life expectancy" (Lightman, 2/24).

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