CAF Warns The President: Don’t Raise Medicare’s Eligibility Age

Washington, DC – In advance of President Obama’s speech on deficit reduction, reported to be scheduled for Monday, a White House spokeswoman said on Thursday that the President’s plan will not include ‘changes to Social Security’. But rumors persist that President Obama may embrace the idea of raising the age of Medicare eligibility, an idea he put on the table in his negotiations with Republicans during the debt ceiling debacle. Campaign for America’s Future’s co-director Roger Hickey said that the President should reject the idea of forcing people to wait longer for Medicare – and he should instead put forward other proposals designed to reduce health care costs in the whole.

The Campaign for America’s Future is asking supporters to contact the White House and tell the President to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. As the missive to the White House makes clear, we want America’s most vulnerable Americans who need access to affordable health care, to be able to depend on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In order to save on health care costs, look to the drug and insurance company profits rather than taking a slice from Americans.

Statement from Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future:

“The report that Social Security is not going to be on the chopping block is welcome news – especially since Social Security contributes nothing to America’s deficits.

“However, if the President again proposes raising the age of Medicare eligibility on Monday, he would be making a huge mistake, and such a policy would harm America’s most vulnerable citizens. Medicare is a target for deficit cutters because many of them never liked the program; however they claim they want to change the eligibility age because health care costs are skyrocketing. The solution is instituting policies that control overall health costs: hit the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, not low income and sick Americans. We can’t afford to let profiteers from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries make millions off of taxpayers any longer. The President should propose letting Medicare use its buying power to negotiate discount prices with the drug companies.

“I commend the President for heeding the advice he received in the thousands of letters and phone calls and emails from Americans of all ages asking him to protect Social Security, the program that allows millions of Americans a safe and secure retirement. He should listen to the public on Medicare.”