|RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press|
But what sounds like a prudent sacrifice for an aging society that must watch its budget could have some surprising consequences, including higher premiums for people on
Unlike tax hikes, which spawn hard partisan divisions, increasing the
But for Republicans seeking more than just tweaks to benefit programs, raising the current eligibility age of 65 has become a top priority, a symbol of their drive to rein in government. If Obama and the
Increasing the eligibility age to 67 would reduce
"This is a policy change that seems straightforward, but has surprising ripple effects," said
Among the cost shifts identified in a Kaiser study:
_ Higher monthly premiums for seniors on
_ Higher premiums for private coverage under Obama's health overhaul. That's because older adults would stick with private insurance for two extra years before moving into
_ An increase in employer costs because older workers would try to stay on company insurance plans.
_ Higher out-of-pocket health care costs for two out of three older adults whose entry into
Still, the idea isn't going away.
Polls show that many Americans are willing to consider raising the age at which people become eligible for
A new Associated Press-GfK poll found that four in 10 back gradually raising the eligibility age, while 48 percent oppose that plan.
Those under age 30 were most supportive, while a clear majority of those between the ages of 30 and 64 were opposed. Seniors were split. Surprisingly, there were no significant differences by political party. Overall, foes of the idea were more adamant, with strong opponents outnumbering strong supporters by 2-1.
U.S. life expectancy has risen by about eight years since
Since then, some policy experts have advocated aligning the
The idea gained new life when Republicans won the House in 2010, and Budget Chairman
For his part, House Speaker
"It's a structural change but it doesn't require you to adopt a whole new model," said
"We are prepared to oppose this one pretty strongly," said
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