Obama won't propose raising Medicare age

President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan includes Medicare cuts that would directly affect seniors, according to administration officials.

Senior administration officials said Obama’s plan, which he will unveil in full Monday, includes $248 billion in savings from Medicare. Roughly 90 percent of that total comes from “reducing over-payments,” the officials said, but they said definitively that the proposed cuts would affect beneficiaries.

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Benefit cuts became Democrats’ line in the sand as they made the political case against Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal earlier this year. Democratic leaders said at the time that they would only consider cuts to doctors and other providers, and would not entertain benefit cuts.


The officials said Obama’s plan does not include his highest-profile suggestion for reining in Medicare spending — gradually raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67. Obama had agreed to the change during the debt-ceiling negotiations. But one administration official said the debt-ceiling talks were built around gaining votes in Congress for a specific bill, whereas today’s plan is the president’s “vision.”


The officials declined to give further specifics about the proposed Medicare cuts, though they said the elements that affect beneficiaries wouldn’t take effect until 2017. And they said Obama is only willing to make benefit cuts in exchange for Republicans agreeing to higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

In addition to $248 billion in Medicare savings, the plan includes $72 billion in savings from Medicaid and other healthcare programs. Again, the officials declined to give specifics, such as whether the Medicaid cuts include the administration’s previous plan to streamline disparate rates of federal support for the program.