ICYMI: Op-Ed: Medicare at 60’s Potential Unintended Consequences
WASHINGTON – In a recent op-ed published in STAT News, Tom Church and Daniel L. Heil argue Medicare at 60 could have numerous unintended consequences for patients, providers, and hospitals. Their latest study analyzes the distributional effects of lowering the Medicare eligibility age, particularly on the newly eligible population and on health care providers. Church and Heil point out that Medicare at 60 comes with an unavoidable trade-off between higher costs to taxpayers (through higher federal deficits) or revenue cuts to physicians and hospitals.
- “Compared to the 18- to 59-year-olds who would remain ineligible, the newly eligible population would be less likely to be uninsured and more likely to have incomes above 400% of the federal poverty line.”
- “Even under optimistic fiscal assumptions, the proposal would add billions to federal deficits, while poorly targeting those in need and straining the finances of hospitals and physicians.”
- “Expanding coverage wouldn’t be cheap. We estimate that the federal deficit would rise by as much as $42.6 billion in the first year of the program and $452 billion over its first 10 years — not counting increased interest costs to the federal government.”
Recent polling shows that voters prefer lawmakers continue to build on what’s working in health care instead of implementing unaffordable proposals like Medicare at 60. At a time when Americans are depending on access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care more than ever, we should prioritize building on and improving what’s working in health care, not starting over by creating new government-controlled health insurance systems.