October 22, 2013

ASU researchers: Medicare reform should begin by raising eligibility age

Posted: October 22, 2013
Robert Smoldt and Denis Cortese
Robert Smoldt (left) and Denis Cortese

While Obamacare dominates the media spotlight, it is Medicare that is in need of a major overhaul. For Medicare, the primary health insurance program for people over the age of 65, the current numbers just don’t add up.

Writing an opinion piece in USA Today (Oct. 22), Denis Cortese, former CEO of Mayo Clinic and currently the director of Arizona State University’s Healthcare Delivery and Policy Program, and Robert Smoldt, associate director of ASU’s Healthcare Delivery and Policy Program, suggest a solid first step is raising the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 69.

Cortese and Smoldt say Medicare’s woes go beyond trying to provide for the glut of Baby Boomers now entering retirement. Their analysis shows a trend of more people entering the system and less people supporting those retirees through the year 2065, long after the Boomers have passed.

Cortese and Smoldt say Medicare is partly a victim to its own success – providing widespread medical care creating longer life spans of retirees. The time to fix Medicare is now.

“In the nearly 50 years since Medicare was created, we’ve seen major breakthroughs in health care," they state. "Young leukemia victims now have the opportunity to live out their lives. A heart attack is no longer certain death. Ongoing medical innovation insures longer, healthier lives. Now policymakers need to dissect the Medicare program and give it a sustainable life.”  

Article source:
USA Today

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Skip Derra, skip.derra@asu.edu
Media Relations