Appearing on Meet the Press yesterday morning, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) had the following exchange with David Gregory:
DAVID GREGORY (HOST): Senator, one point about Medicare. You say you want to put off this discussion until later. But bottom line, should the Medicare eligibility age go up? Should there be means testing to get at the benefits side, if you want to shore this program up, because 12 years as you say before it runs out of money?
DURBIN: I do believe there should be means testing. and those of us with higher income in retirement should pay more. That could be part of the solution. But when you talk about raising the eligibility age, there’s one key question. what happens to the early retiree? What about that gap in coverage between workplace and Medicare? How will they be covered? I listened to Republicans say we can’t wait to repeal Obamacare, and the insurance exchanges. well, where does a person turn if they are 65 years of age and the medicare eligibility age is 67? They have two years there where they may not have the best of health. They need accessible, affordable medical insurance during that period.
When someone asks a Democrat, “Should the Medicare eligibility age go up?”, the correct answer is, “No.”
It’s no secret Dick Durbin is President Obama’s closest ally in the Senate, so Durbin’s words carry some extra weight.
When David Gregory presented Durbin with a clear chance to definitively rule out raising the Medicare eligibility age, Durbin chose not to do so. Basically, all Durbin said is that 65 and 66-year-olds need to be covered — he did not specify how, implying Obamacare might fill the coverage gap .
Well, thankfully — Senator Durbin — we have a very popular, efficient, and successful program that already covers 65 and 66-year-olds: it’s called Medicare.