The Rachel Maddow Show | December 07, 2012
so geeky that i'm pushing the limits that even the "the rachel maddow show" staff of geeks will tolerate, the producers here get me to do it in two minutes or less. tonight's challenge comes in something i mentioned earlier. the medicare eligibility age. sexy topic right? try to control yourself, audience. despite the fact it's unpopular, republicans really want to make cuts in medicare and want to raise the age by two years from 65 to 67. that's also super unpopular. but the white house is open to it. they are open to it in 2011 in the boehner lsh obama talks. what's weird is it's always presented as the height of fiscal responsibility even though it's fiscally irresponsible. which brings us to the challenge. why raising the age does not save you very much money and is probably a bad policy idea in under two minutes. do we have the clock. let's do it. the argument for cutting 65 and 67-year-olds out of a deficit talk is simple. it saves money. the keizer family foundation estimates that when it's all said and done, the government could save $5.7 billion. but those 65 and 66-year-olds don't disappear. they are still going to be here and get sick sometimes which means the savings we'd see by kicking them off they pop back up elsewhere in the economy. it's not pure savings, it's a cost shift. you're going to see increased costs for seniors who will have to find another health insurer since it uses power to pay less by quite a bit. the seniors turning to private insurance will have to pay more from the same coverage. 3.7 billion more in the first year of the policy. for those who are eligible for medicaid, will move to the states, we think. then there are the employers. many of the ineligible will turn to their employers. that will increase the health care costs of companies by $5.4 billion. some of the seniors will turn to the affordable care act in the insurance exchanges. those left in medicare will pay a higher premium because the average premiums go up for those older and sicker. that will cost $2.5 billion. in order to save the federal government $5.7 billion this plan to raise medicare eligibility would cost twice that much across the economy. done. stop the clock. so that is the explanation in under two minutes as promised. given all that, why are democrats even considering a policy so fiscally promised. the reason is doesn't save money is the same reason they are considering it. it won't hurt people all that much compared to the alternatives on the table. this point was made at new york magazine. it has symbolic power and fiscal skulls. meager and inefficient though the savings may be, they pack a lot of punch. that's what np fp meant when she called it a trophy. republicans see this as a big win for them. big. and that's kind of the white house 's quiet argument. it's a terrible policy, but because obama care and employers and others are there to catch a lot of these people, it might get more votes while doing less harm to seniors than the alternatives.