Increasing Age For Medicare Eligibility Is A Terrible Idea

I’ve noted my distaste for Paul Krugman’s often hysterical attacks on Barack Obama many times in the past, including as recently as yesterday. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas where I agree with Krugman and disagree with Obama. One of these was the topic of a blog post today. I totally agree with Krugman that raising the Medicare eligibly age is a terrible idea under our current health care system.

One of the biggest problems with the current system is that people with pre-existing medical conditions have difficulty obtaining private health insurance. As the risk of pre-existing medical conditions increases with age, the individual insurance market does a terrible job of providing an affordable product. During the efforts to pass health care reform, I was actually more interested in the  short-lived effort to offer a Medicare buy-in for those under 65 as opposed to the already watered-down public option.

If we had a working health care system as envisioned by Obama in place, then it might be all right to increase the Medicare eligibility age. However, the Republicans are now doing everything they can to undermine this system. Until we have  a system in place that ensures that people in their 60’s can obtain affordable health care, increasing the Medicare eligibility age should be off the table. Actually, at the moment, I still don’t think that lowering this age would be a bad idea.

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