WASHINGTON BUREAU — Congress should increase the normal Medicare eligibility age to 67 and replace the government-run basic Medicare program with access to private plans, according to the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC).
The HLC, Washington, represents large pharmaceutical companies, device makers, insurers and health care providers. Members include Aetna Inc., Hartford (NYSE:AET).
The group has sent what it says is a proposal that could cut Medicare spending by $410 billion over 10 years to congressional leaders and to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – the 12-member “Super Committee” that is supposed to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions by Thanksgiving.
HLC President Mary Grealy writes in a letter describing the proposal that Congress should:
Gradually increase the standard Medicare eligibility age to 67, from 65 today.
Have participants in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program use vouchers to buy coverage through a new Medicare exchange that would give insurers a chance to compete on the basis of cost, quality and value.
Require individuals with annual incomes of $150,000 and over to pay the full cost of Medicare Parts B physician services coverage and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.