Sam Stein: “Obama offered to raise Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 as part of the grand debt bargain”

The headline quotes the news from the Twitter. Here’s from Sam Stein’s Huffington Post article (my emphasis throughout):

In his press conference on Monday morning, President Barack Obama repeatedly insisted that he was willing to tackle some sacred cows as part of a larger package to raise the debt ceiling. Just how sacred, however, may surprise political observers.

According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues.

The proposal, as discussed, would not go into effect immediately, but rather would be implemented down the road (likely in 2013).

It’s getting ugly out there, even though there’s a touch of nuance in Stein’s report. For example:

Sources offered varied accounts regarding the seriousness with which the president had discussed raising the Medicare eligibility age. … “That is one of the things they put on the table as part of a big solution,” said one senior Republican Hill aide. … Obama’s willingness to embrace the idea, however, was seen as a major bargaining chip that could help win concessions from Republicans on revenues.

Stein adds:

A proposal to raise the eligibility age for Medicare — which was part of a budget plan put forth by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — would face steep opposition from within the Democratic Party. The amount of money it would save is also relatively small[.]

About the first: In a perfect world, yes. We’re in the inverse-perfect world.

About the second, well … why would that stop Mr. Hope and Change from achieving his dream, becoming our century’s inverse–Franklin Roosevelt?

Is the offer still on the table? What else went on that table that we haven’t heard about yet?

(And thanks to Sam Stein for his excellent digging!)


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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