Medicare Age Requirement Should Go Down, Not Up
Recently there has been talk by Republican lawmakers and the media about a deal to help solve the Fiscal Cliff issue and they think that Medicare’s age requirement should be lifted to 67 years old. As far as I am concerned, this is all based on a fallacy.
Next year, millions of Americans will suddenly be required to purchase health insurance. The health insurance industry will see a huge lift in their profits and for a while, the health care industry will be overwhelmed. There will be a shortage of doctors and other health care professionals and many will be unhappy, but I believe we will survive it and we will adapt. Most importantly, we will be leaving behind a health care system that has left tens of millions of Americans without decent health care, beyond emergency rooms.
The biggest goal here should be a sufficient health care system that cares for everyone yet keeps the cost down. What I think we all should realize is that generally, the older a person gets the more health care they will need. Therefore, it would seem logical to me that if we were to lower the age of Medicare — perhaps to 55 years old — it would remove a high-risk group out of the for-profit health care system. That in turn should lower health care cost, and I would think in a large way, as the health insurance industry would have lower cost as those in the higher risk pool would be taken care of by Medicare and the federal government.
A side note here: I think the problem is the GOP refuses to accept that ObamaCare is here to stay and some of its members are in denial of the future of ObamaCare. ObamaCare may not be perfect but it is not going away and Congress should start looking for ways to improve it, not destroy it.
Even if you take ObamaCare out of the equation, health care cost would be lower for most Americans if the Medicare age was lowered to a more realistic age when an individual would be more likely to face health care issues. Absolutely, there are many over 55 who are as healthy as can be, but many of those in that age range have much more probability of having health issues than those who are younger.
I may be pointing out the economic benefits of lowering the age of Medicare here but there is a human issue also. Those who live on a lower income and are older can suddenly find themselves faced with a mountain of bills over a short emergency room visit, surgery or a hospital stay. It can knock them out of work and even after they recover, someone in their 50s can find it difficult to find a job. By the age of 65 and especially 67, someone who has reached that age without health care, most likely will have health issues that perhaps could have been prevented if they were taken care of at an earlier stage in their lives.
Medicare I realize is running out of money and there needs to be a fix but raising the age requirement will only make those with small incomes and serious health issues, go even longer to get the care they so desperately need.
The best way to fix Medicare to me is to figure out how to lower health care cost overall, which would also affect Medicare. Lift the payroll deduction for Medicare by a small percentage so that it does not affect the average income dramatically and raise the cap on how much income is taxed for Medicare; these methods would be much better than hurting those who need health care the most, older people.
ObamaCare will change much when it comes to health care in this country and I hope it will lead us all to live healthier lives with a less expensive health care system. However, we all will get older if we live long enough and many of us will likely face health problems long before we reach our 60s. Medicare should start when someone is more likely to need it and 55 is a good place to begin.