If we raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 or 70, where do the costs for those extra years of Medicare "savings" get transferred to?
The common fantasy that there really is a Santa seems to muddy the waters of all our political debates. Liberals often make the mistake of thinking Santa will cover the costs of gifts bestowed on We-the-People by Washington. Conservatives seem to believe that Santa covers the costs of everything Washington does not do. Both beliefs are as absurd as thinking that a big fat man lives eternally at the North Pole and travels in an airborne sleigh drawn by flying reindeer to every Christmas celebrating household on the entire Earth in a single night, coming down chimneys even in buildings that have none to deliver free goodies to one and all.
For instance, if Washington did not build our Interstate highway system, it probably wouldn’t exist. If no governmental agency built or maintained roads, those built by private enterprise as for-profit toll roads would cost us far more than taxes to build and maintain roads do. And our transportation system would be crippled. There would be no roads in areas that weren’t profitable for tolls. States would squabble over where and how to connect roads that crossed their border.
Likewise, the cost of healthcare delivery through Medicare is substantially less than delivery of the same care through for-profit insurance. People forced to retire at 65 or under would, unless wealthy, be unlikely to be able to afford private insurance even if it were offered. Employer funded healthcare would cost business far more if it had to apply to our aging population. Rising business costs just get passed on to us all as consumer prices.
We originally set up Medicare because private insurers, mandated to protect their profitability, simply refused to sell policies to elderly Americans because the risks of high-cost care needs were simply too great. Those without any insurance are often forced to go to the emergency room for the highest cost care available, and when they cannot pay, the rest of us pick up the tab. AARP “presents a ballanced debate by representatives of The Heritage Foundation (conservative) and The Brookings Institution (liberal) here looking at the pros and cons of raising the eligibility age for Medicare.
So given all that, would raising the Medicare eligibility age really save us money, or cost us more?