White House says 'no' to raising Medicare eligibility age

The White House said definitively Monday it will not agree to increasing the eligibility age for Medicare as part of a deficit-reduction deal with congressional Republicans.

Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested President Obama is willing to consider cuts to the entitlement program to reduce the deficit but said “no” to the White House increasing the minimum age.

“The president has made clear that we don’t believe that that’s the right policy to take,” Carney said during a White House briefing. 

He said the president made clear last year in proposals -- from which House Speaker John Boehner “walked away” -- that he was open to entitlement reform options but not to changing the Medicare age.

Republicans have proposed increasing the age from 65 to 67 as a way for the federal government to save money because younger retirees would have to buy their own insurance for those two years.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports the change would save the government $125 billion over 10 years.

“The White House keeps saying what they won’t do to replace President Obama’s devastating sequester -- when will they tell us what they will do, and call on the Senate Democrats to pass it?” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told Talking Points Memo.

In addition, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a tweet: “I'm personally shocked that the White House is ruling out things it previously supported.”