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Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:47 AM

Alarms Go Off as Obama Plays Footsie with Raising Medicare Age [View all]

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/12/12-8


Protestors call for an increase of taxes on the wealthy and voice opposition to cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid during a demonstration in the Federal Building Plaza on December 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Partly because he's done it before, partly because he specifically left it on the table in a not-yet aired interview with ABC's Barbara Walters this week, but mainly because it's a terrible policy idea, progressives are saying loudly that if President Obama agrees to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 he'll have, as one notable critic put it, "hell to pay."

As secret offers and counter-offers have been exchanged between the White House and the GOP leadership in the House over the last several days, speculation has peaked about whether or not Obama will relinquish his strong negotiating position by giving in to demands that he do something—no matter how ineffective—that would simultaneously please Republicans while proving he's willing to ignore the desires of his political base.

***SNIP

But, when asked about the possibility of including the age increase for Medicare by Barbara Walters in an interview scheduled to air Friday, Obama reportedly answered:

When you look at the evidence, it’s not clear that it actually saves a lot of money. But what I’ve said is let’s look at every avenue, because what is true is we need to strengthen Social Security, we need to strengthen Medicare for future generations, the current path is not sustainable because we’ve got an aging population and health care costs are shooting up so quickly.

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