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Hospitals: Raise Medicare eligibility age

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Fearing that the deficit reduction super committee may decide to cut their payments in its effort to reduce the Medicare budget, hospitals are lobbying for an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare. The American Hospital Association plans a coordinated lobbying effort to shift the cost burden on to seniors and soon-to-be seniors.

The AHA is urging hospital executives to descend upon the nation’s capitol in their push to raise the Medicare age of eligibility from 65 to 67. In addition to raising the eligibility age, which would save an estimated $124.8 billion over 10 years, some hospital executives advocate raising the amount Medicare beneficiaries pay to see a doctor from 25 to 35 percent, which would save an estimated $241.2 billion over 10 years.

If the super committee does not find the $1.5 trillion in savings they are searching for, hospitals would face an automatic 2 percent cut in their payments from Medicare. It’s no surprise, then, say health-care analysts, that hospital executives have taken this stance, which is merely an effort to protect their own bottom line.

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