Which of these two choices nets more money to pay down the deficit? The Republican choice of upping the eligibility age for Medicare? Or the White House proposal to hike taxes on the upper income people?
Most look at the first as the most "serious" option. Like obviously. Right? Paul Krugman took a look.
So I thought I’d look at the dollars and cents — and even I am somewhat shocked. Those tax hikes would raise $1.6 trillion over the next decade; according to the CBO, raising the Medicare age would save $113 billion in federal funds over the next decade.
So, the non-serious proposal would reduce the deficit 14 times as much as the serious proposal.
I guess we have to understand the definition of serious: a proposal is only serious if it punishes the poor and the middle class. ...Paul Krugman
Why do we let reality get lost in a fog of wingers' fantasies? They always -- always -- wind up looking idiotic. But they go right back to the Mad Hatter's tea party every time.
Like everything in health care, it's a little bit complicated. But the bottom line is that if you lower costs for one group, you almost always raise them for another.
Let's focus on those 65- and 66-year-olds. In Medicare, they're currently the youngest and healthiest people. So by delaying their entry into the program, says Neuman, you raise costs for everyone else already there.
The result would be that "people on Medicare pay higher premiums," she said. "That's because you're taking the healthiest people out of the Medicare risk pool, leaving sicker people to pay higher premiums."
At the same time, those same 65- and 66-year-olds would be the oldest and, likely, among the sickest people remaining in the insurance pools of the working-age population, particularly in the new health insurance exchanges.
"That means that they are raising the average risk of people in the exchanges, so that younger people in the exchanges, everybody in the exchanges, will see premiums rise, but especially so for those who are younger," Neuman says.
Which reminds us: Medicare is insurance for which we all pay throughout our lives, including recipients of Medicare who continue to pay premiums. It's hardly "free."