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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Bold Promise

This is the sort of thing one didn't do in years past if one wanted to be president.  Promise to roll back future benefit opportunities for current voters?  Unheard of.

Yet here he is:
Romney would raise eligibility age for Medicare
By David Espo, AP Special Correspondent

Detroit (AP) — Four days before critical primary elections, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney outlined a far-reaching plan Friday to gradually delay Americans' eligibility for Medicare as well as Social Security.

Romney said the shift, as people live longer, is needed to steer the giant benefit programs toward economic sustainability.

Romney said his proposals for Medicare and Social Security would begin in 2022, meaning no current or near-retirees would be affected. He also said he favors adjustments to curtail the growth of future benefits for the relatively well-to-do, so "lower-income seniors would receive the most generous benefits." He had described his Social Security proposals previously.

Beginning in 2022, Romney said, "we will gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age by one month each year. In the long run, the eligibility ages for both programs will be indexed to longevity so that they increase only as fast as life expectancy."

Under current law, the age for collecting full Social Security benefits is gradually rising from 65 to 67. Medicare is available at age 65. In both cases, the age is set in law, and Romney's suggestion that it be tied automatically to increases in the life expectancy of Americans would mark a major change. [link]
When pinned down in the past, Barack Obama would mumble something about how we had to "do something" about Social Security and Medicare in order to keep them from breaking the bank. But he's done nothing.

With control of both the House and the Senate in January, perhaps Romney - if elected - will be able to set both programs right.