Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Close

REAL POSSIBILITIES

AARP Real Possibilities

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

CHECK OUT OUR
NEW IPAD APP!

ATM Mobile App for iPhone and Ipad

Enjoy the best of AARP’s award-winning publications

on the go with the new

AARP ePubs iPad App

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

Get the answers you need, from Patricia Barry, AARP's Ask Ms. Medicare

Most Popular

Viewed

Commented

share your Thoughts

Reader stories help us fine-tune our education efforts and strengthen our calls for action on issues that matter most to you. We read and learn from every story and may use yours (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire other readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Medicare, Medicaid on the Table

8 cuts Congress's deficit committee might make

En español | Will Medicare and Medicaid benefits be cautiously trimmed or dramatically sheared by a "super-committee" looking for ways to cut federal spending?

See also: AARP rejects proposals that cut Medicare benefits.

That's the question as the committee, composed of six Republicans and six Democrats, tries to figure out how to slash $1.5 trillion from the national deficit in a new round of negotiations. The group must make its recommendations before Thanksgiving, and Congress is expected to vote on them by Dec. 23.

cuts the debt committee might make to medicaid medicare social security - rally to save.

Seniors react to proposed cuts in health and retirement benefits. — Photo by Melissa Golden

Everything's on the table, but here are eight changes to Medicare and Medicaid that the committee is expected to consider:

1. Replace the current Medicare program with a private voucher system.

A proposal to privatize Medicare for everyone currently under age 55 passed the House in April — and failed in the Senate. But Republican leaders have made it clear that the Ryan plan — named after its author, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee — is still on the table despite strong popular reaction against it.

The plan would replace Medicare with vouchers to help buy private insurance for people who become eligible for Medicare after 2021. Experts predict that it would shift more costs to beneficiaries — both for younger ones using the vouchers and, ultimately, for older ones who stay in the current Medicare program.

2. Raise the age of eligibility for Medicare.

The super-committee could adopt a proposal from a bipartisan bill recently introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). This bill — seen by some as a bipartisan model for deficit cutting — would raise the eligibility age from 65 to 67, but only if a provision of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014. That provision would guarantee Americans who are not old enough for Medicare the opportunity to buy private insurance regardless of health conditions — something they would have to do if the Medicare eligibility age is raised. Most Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal the health care law.

Raising the eligibility age is estimated to save the government $124 billion over 10 years, but if the health care law is repealed, the burden would fall on people ages 65 to 67 trying to buy insurance and on state Medicaid programs and employers that provide health insurance. If the law is allowed to take effect, federal savings would be partly reduced because more low- and middle-income people would be eligible for government subsidies under the law.

Next: Raising the costs to beneficiaries. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Medicare & Medicaid News

Discounts & Benefits

bring health To Life-Visual MD

AARP Bookstore

AARP Bookstore - woman reaches for book on bookshelf

VISIT THE HEALTH SECTION

Find titles on brain health, drug alternatives and losing weight. Do