Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has just put out a proposal to cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits. In the text of the proposal, his first recommendation is raising the Medicare age from 65 to 67.
To justify this, he cites “bipartisan” support:
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT:A�This policy was supported by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.A� It was also included in the bipartisan Biden-Cantor deficit reduction negotiation, the bipartisan Obama-Boehner negotiations, and the Coburn-Lieberman Medicare proposal from last Congress. Prominent Democrats, such as Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), suggested that this policy should be part of the discussion to reform entitlements.A� The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has provided this as an entitlement reform option.
Hatch’s statement makes it seem like Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) would accept a hike in the Medicare age. While the congressman did once suggest that it would be part of the discussion, he later backtracked and flatly said he will not accept a raising of the age, because it would just result in “transferring” costs to seniors.
And while Hatch can cite some elites who support raising the Medicare age, among the general public the proposal is only bipartisan in the opposition to it. A Washington Post poll last year found that American voters, by a margin of two-to-one, oppose raising the Medicare age.