A new Alliance for Health Reform video features two former Medicare administrators — Gail Wilensky and Bruce Vladeck — on their ideas about how to save the program.
Ms. Wilensky, who ran Medicare in a Republican administration, argued for increasing the eligibility age of Medicare for future retirees, while still making the program available at age 65 for those who are disabled.
Mr. Vladeck, said that postponing retirement made him “extremely uneasy,” though. “I think there are an awful lot of Americans now who would really like to be working into their late sixties and early seventies, whose only alternatives at the moment are minimum wage jobs at Walmart or at McDonald’s.”
The two agreed, however, that the country has an aging problem, and that recent cost growth rates in Medicare won’t continue, even if costs remain low per beneficiary because there will be more people aging into Medicare. “The crisis,” said Vladeck, “is 10 or 15 years from now, when we are going to have to face up to the fact that you can’t cover 50 percent more people for the same amount of money.”
Wilensky called it a “significant problem in our future. It’s not going to go away.”