Saturday, December 08, 2012

Worst. Idea. Ever.

The internets are in an uproar about persistent rumors that the dreaded fiscal deal is going to shake out with Obama accepting a slightly lower than Clinton rate rise on the 2%ers and an agreement to raise the Medicare age to 67 years old. I'm not going to get too freaked just yet. I find it hard to believe that Obama doesn't know raising the Medicare age is the fking dumbest idea ever.

Besides the fact that it doesn't save any money and would actually would cost more, it endangers the public health. As Adele says in her post:
But the added cost is not the trigger for the invective; that comes from this: Raise the eligibility age and PEOPLE WILL DIE.

No, that’s not an exaggeration, and the failure of certain wonks to take that into consideration speaks to their isolation from everyday people, even the everyday people who provide services to them, such as grocery-store clerks, waitresses, and construction workers in right-to-work states. These are people who cannot wait until they’re 67 for the full complement of Medicare benefits. Many of them are people who will wind up paying the individual mandate penalty in Obamacare, because even if purchased through an exchange, the monthly premium will be more than they can afford.
And I actually didn't know life expectancy has dropped for the demographic that needs Medicare the most.
Life expectancy among the less educated and those with lower incomes has actually dropped. New research shows that between 1990 and 2008, white women lacking a high school diploma lost a shocking five years of life, while their male peers lost three years.
Our well fed, financially secure, very important pundits seem to be unaware, or perhaps they've simply forgotten, that there are millions of long term unemployed out there. I'm willing to bet a majority of them are between the ages of 50 and 65 years old. If anything we should be lowering the age limit to keep these people out of emergency rooms and prevent expensive medical crises that could be avoided with proper preventative care.

Meanwhile, there are some purportedly liberal contrarians of the very important pundit class who are asking what's the big deal about raising the age limit? They're finding "great" reasons to accept what would be a gross betrayal of the voters trust. They didn't re-elect Obama and give the Dems some gains to be sold out in lame duck negotiations. Which of course spawned the traditional December internet fights. If you like watching these unfold, you can probably catch up on the tick tock here.

In any event, I'm not going to freak out just yet myself. For one thing, Nancy Pelosi has been very clear that she's not accepting the age raise. So think I'll stay calm for now. Which is not to say I won't be polishing my pitchfork -- just in case.

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