Hospitals Want Medicare Eligibility Age Upped From 65 to 67; Critics Call it Self-Serving

A number of hospital executives support the change in Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 to avoid reimbursement cuts, and many are planning a lobbying event on Capitol Hill this coming week to reinforce the idea, according to a Boston Globe report.

President Obama has previously expressed willingness to make the age change, but he left the measure out of his deficit-reduction proposal last week — supposedly to avoid controversy. Members of the Healthcare Leadership Council, which includes hospitals, health plans, pharmaceutical companies and other health organizations, have expressed frustration at being the target of Congressional cost-cutting and say it's time to consider other options.

Some analysts have said hospitals are looking out for themselves at the cost of seniors. There is also concern that raising the age eligibility could cost more, since Medicare is more efficient than private payors. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that if a change in eligibility were in effect in 2014, it would increase state and private sector costs by $11.4 billion, twice as much as the net federal savings of $5.7 billion, according to the report.

The American Hospital Association is rallying hundreds of hospital leaders to descend upon the Capitol on Tuesday to promote the age change.

Related Articles on Medicare and Congress:

States Form "Loose Confederacy" to Lobby Against More Medicaid Cuts
President Obama's Deficit Plan: What Happens to the Sustainable Growth Rate?
AHA: Congress Must Extend Expiring Medicare Payment Provisions

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