Increasing the Medicare age would barely save the government any money, and, to make matters worse, would increase overall healthcare spending. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, the policy is fine.
It may seem obvious that raising the Medicare age should save money. After all, the projected rise of the long-term debt is mostly about the projected rise of federal health-care spending. If we raise the Medicare age, Washington can wait longer to pay for seniors' health care, which means they'll pay less, overall.
Any time there's any chance for any kind of budget bargain, "grand" or otherwise, the discussion inside the Beltway inevitably turns to hiking the Medicare age. (Call it Peterson's Law: As a fiscal debate grows longer, the probability of a CEO proposing a higher Social Security and Medicare age approaches one). Right on cue, this got trial-ballooned during the debt ceiling talks in 2011, and then again during the fiscal cliff talks in 2012. Professional deficit hawks think of raising the Medicare age as a sign of seriousness. It's not so much about the money it saves as the message it supposedly sends markets: that the debt will be fixed.
Not that there's much money to be saved. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now estimates that gradually increasing the Medicare age from 65 to 67 would only save the government $19 billion between 2016 and 2023 — or 0.01 percent of GDP over that time. Nor would it save much more over the longer term; just 0.07 percent of GDP by 2038.