A recent article in The Hill HealthWatch Blog discusses the Obama administration’s refusal to support raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Well, this is a relief, but I mean really, what are the expectations here? What is the end goal? First, the proposal was to raise the age from 65 to 67. I suppose that next it will be from 67 to 69, 69 to 71, 71 to 73, 73 to 75, 75 to 77, and so forth. Perhaps it would be more cost-effective if someone developed a mechanism for more accurately predicting life expectancy. Sure, there are ways to do it now. Insurance companies use all types of logarithms, formulas, and calculators to estimate the number of a person’s remaining years. Using information such as weight, age, medical history (high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease, hypercholesterolemia,
cancer, and other types of chronic illnesses) a general life expectancy can be “guesstimated.”
Yes, people are living longer and are able to remain active for more years than ever before, but what about the quality of their lives? Will they enjoy healthy, comfortable lives or merely exist, trudging to work every day in order to continue to pay into an already overburdened health system? Some do quite well. Take the example of the 102 year-old lady who attended the State of the Union address on February 12. President Obama acknowledged her and stated that he admired her tenacity and determination in withstanding a host of obstacles to cast her ballot in the Presidential election in November, but is this the new normal? I am personally happy to see someone thriving at the ripe old age of 102, but I really don’t believe this lady was what the framers of Medicare had in mind back in 1965 when the Medicare eligibility age was set at 65.
Baker, Sam. “Carney: Obama Won’t Back Higher Medicare Age.” The Hill HealthWatch Blog. February 11, 2013. Website. http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/282257-carney-obama-wont-back-higher-medicare-age. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
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