Raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 will be among a host of topics American Hospital Association members will discuss with lawmakers this week during the group’s advocacy meeting in Washington. “This is an idea that has been put forward by House Democrats, an idea put forth by the president,” said Tom Nickels, AHA’s senior vice president of federal relations. “So this is not an idea that doesn’t have a wide spectrum of individuals who are willing to consider it—not endorse it, but consider it.”
Late News: AHA, lawmakers to consider raising Medicare eligibility age
President Barack Obama ultimately did not include a hike in the eligibility age in his deficit-reduction proposal last month. Some state hospitals associations asked about the AHA’s strategy—those in California, Delaware, Maryland and New York—support exploring a change in eligibility rules, while others are less sure. “In the larger scheme of trying to reform federal expenditures and entitlement policy, there was certainly no move by any member of our delegation to take anything off the table,” said Wayne Smith, president and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association.
The Illinois Hospital Association told AHA officials in July that IHA had not made public an official stance on the matter and would remain silent until the group’s governing board recommended one, according to Vice President of Federal Relations Kimberly Parker. Ron Pollack, executive director of the patient advocacy group Families USA, said the AHA “is trying to shift the focus on program beneficiaries rather than hospital operations.” Pollack added that hospitals have “played a very helpful role in trying to protect the most vulnerable in American society and, unfortunately, this is a significant step in the wrong direction.”
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