If President Obama backs raising the age of medicare, which won’t save the Government money in the long run due to the huge numbers of 65 and 66 year olds who will shift to Medicaid and who will break the backs of small businesses providing health care to elderly workers — and which will force middle class elderly workers who don’t have employer paid health care to pay premiums of ten thousand dollars a year or more for two more years, with huge deductibles and out of pocket costs, he doesn’t deserve a second term as Democratic President. Let him run as as Republican or go home to Chicago. He will have sold us out.
I am a knowledge worker who outside of voluntary gardening or home improvement chores has the privilege of working with my brain in a climate-controlled environment. However, I have two elderly relatives who although mentally and physically disabled from infancy, worked all their lives on their feet and with the strength of their bodies, frequently in very hot and/or very uncomfortable circumstances: light factory work, janitorial work, and busing tables and running the dishwasher at a Bob Evans restaurant. Towards the end of their working lives, as they were “downsized” from union-protected jobs, they did this for little more than the minimum wage.
Most of you reading this blog right now are like me, I’m guessing. We’re the kind of people who have to seek out opportunities for physical activity via running clubs and gym memberships because it’s not something that’s called for on the job. Barring a serious illness, because our work takes only a minimal toll on our physical strength, many of us hope or expect to continue working past 65. Not everyone has that privilege, which is why Medicare eligibility must remain where it is.
Does anyone else find it tragic that a few years ago in the midst of the “health” “care” “reform” debates in the U.S., there were serious proposals to lower the age of Medicare eligibility as a strategy to moving towards universal care? Does anyone doubt what the so-called “left” in this country would do if a Republican president floated raising the age of Medicare eligibility? (Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?)