Raising age of Medicare eligibility is no panacea for budget woes

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 21 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8653
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

Raising the age when people became eligible to receive Medicare would provide some modest fiscal relief for the program, but the costs would shift instead to senior citizens themselves, to businesses, and to other government health programs and would increase overall national spending on healthcare, experts told a congressional briefing on 17 December.

Changing the eligibility criterion from 65 to 67 years in incremental steps would reduce net federal spending by $113bn (£70bn; €85bn) over 10 years, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office calculated.1 And long term spending would decline by about 5%.

But total national healthcare spending would rise by $5.7bn, said Juliette Cubanski, citing a study she coauthored at the Kaiser …

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