I have a post today on the U.S. News and World Report’s Debate Club where I argue that the Medicare eligibility age should, like the Social Security retirement age, be raised by two years to help bring the entitlement program’s long-term costs under control.
The best idea is to bring the cost discipline of a functioning healthcare marketplace to Medicare. Under this model, beneficiaries would choose from among competing health plan offerings. Beneficiaries selecting less-expensive options would reduce both their own costs as well as the government’s. This model has worked well to control costs in the Medicare drug benefit.
But pursuing more competition in Medicare does not preclude adopting other reforms too. Among the ideas now being discussed in budget talks between congressional leaders and the president is a rise in the Medicare eligibility age. Social Security’s normal retirement age is already moving up from age 65 to 67 over about a two-decade phase-in period, but Medicare’s eligibility remains at 65 (where it has been since the program was enacted in 1965).
For those interested, you can read and vote on the post at the Debate Club website here.