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Senator Dick Durbin (D. IL), former member of the Gang of 6, is either planning to run again in 2014 or coming to his senses (or both) but not only has he said that Social Security should be taken off the table, he also is against raising the eligibility age for Medicare:

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“We’ve got to make sure that there is seamless coverage of affordable health insurance for every American,” Durbin said. “My concern about raising that Medicare retirement age is there will be gaps in coverage or coverage that’s way too expensive for seniors to purchase.” - ABC News, 11/25/12

Now Durbin thinks that Medicare and Medicaid should still be a part of the conversation in the deficit reduction negotiations but at least he's not proposing raising the eligibility age which was at one point part of the "grand bargain" talks:

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Durbin indicated Democrats might accept a reform of the government's Medicare health insurance program for the elderly that would make higher-income seniors pay more for their care.

Democrats traditionally oppose limiting Medicare benefits according to income, a practice known as "means testing." Durbin said Medicaid, a public health insurance program for the poor, also could be overhauled.

But Durbin said social security, the federal government pension program, needs only small tweaks to ensure long-term solvency rather than major reforms. - CNBC, 11/26/12

Now I am curious to know who the higher income elderly are that would have to pay more for their Medicare and I would like to know more about this "Medicaid overhaul".  I'm glad to see Durbin come to senses and transition out of that Gang Of 6 mentality.  

Glad to see Durbin take Social Security off the table and speaking out against raising the eligibility for Medicare but if you want him to also take Medicare and Medicaid off the table, here are the contact numbers for office in D.C. and his offices in Illinois:

WASHINGTON, D.C.: (202) 224-2152, CALL BETWEEN 9 am to 6 pm

CHICAGO: (312) 353-4952, CALL BETWEEN 8:30 am to 5 pm

SPRINGFIELD: (217) 492-4062, CALL BETWEEN 8:30 am to 5 pm

CARBONDALE: (618) 351-1122, CALL BETWEEN 8:30 am to 5 pm

ROCK ISLAND: (309) 786-5173, CALL BETWEEN 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and Land of Lincoln Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let's pressure Obama, too: Call the White House at (7+ / 0-)

    Comments: 202-456-1111
    Switchboard: 202-456-1414

    If Obama caves, it's all over.  We need to pressure him, too!

    •  Just Trust 'em all, no worries! (3+ / 0-)

      that's what a fellow Kossack is telling me in an ongoing debate we are having in the comments of another diary.  I'm with you on the pressure. What do you think about my debate partner's argument?  

      •  I think we need to target the pressure (0+ / 0-)

        to where it's needed and will do the most good. This is a huge issue I'm having with right now. Yesterday I got an email asking me to go down to my senator's office in the cold tomorrow morning to "ask" him to take Social Security, Medicare and Medicare off the table. I have no idea if this is organized; if there is a leader; if they have an appointment with one of his staff; or WHY THE FUCK THEY ARE GOING since my senator (Sherrod Brown) is one of the most reliable progressives in the senate. It seems almost like busy work, and it seems uninformed.

        I've learned about citizen lobbying from doing it in state. I learned that you need to know the legislator's position on the issue and address it. If he/she is with you, you are going primarily to thank them and reinforce that you support them. MoveOn's email didn't seem to know anything specific about Sherrod's record or where he stood. It's like they just want to send a bunch of ignorant people down there just to do something and risk looking like idiots when a staff member goes, "He agrees. And ...?"

        Sorry to vent but too often there days, MoveOn's demands for action seem to lack background on the specific situation or individual they are asking members to take action on.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:02:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Got to watch the gang of eight (4+ / 0-)

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:05:34 PM PST

  •  Luke, Chris and Ezra didn't get the memo (5+ / 0-)

    MSNBC was really shilling for raising the age today.  Hard to tell who is being played.  

    •  what kind of idiot thinks raising the age for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, greenbell

      Medicare coverage isn't going to leave extremely vulnerable 60-somethings in--ONCE AGAIN--the lurch?  

      How about going after the catheter, hover-round, blood-testing middlemen who push their wares on the elderly and are handsomely reimbursed for their efforts by Medicare?  That alone would go a long way to cutting out the waste, fraud and abuse.

      Leave the beneficiaries alone~!  

      And Luke?  Please just SHUT UP.

      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

      by livjack on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:41:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To say nothing of 50-somethings (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smiley7, greenbell, qofdisks

        I know a ton of people in their 50s waiting with bated breath until they're 65 to go to a doctor. Merely three times what a younger person pays? So if a younger person pays, say, $350, as a private individual, you think someone in their 60s, who lost their good-paying job a few years ago, is going  to be able to pay $1,000 a month? Dream on.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:04:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many things can be changed, but (0+ / 0-)

          raising the eligibility age should never be one of them. The Great Recession that led to so many layoffs over the last several years hit those over 50 really hard. The truth is that employers (you know--job creators) don't want older people. So how are they expected to work longer when there are no jobs for them?

  •  Thanks for reporting this most excellent news, (11+ / 0-)

    poopdogcomedy. This report is a big improvement over last month when I seem to remember Senator Durbin making overtures suggesting compromising with the Republicans was in the cards.

    And, again this afternoon, I overhead a CNN report in an airport dropping my son back off to college, where someone says  the "great news" was that not only were many Republicans renouncing Grover Norquist, but Democrats were also ready for "entitlement reform" as the symmetrically reasonable compromise.

    I believe it would be a colossal blunder if Democrats agree to any reduction to Social Security, or Medicare, when the reasons we fell from President Clintons surpluses were the tax reductions, and large increases in defense spending which only a few, such as Senator Sanders are discussing.

    We should say no to the "chain-CPI adjustments" which will be a reduction of Social Security and government pensions no matter what anyone says, nor should we raise the eligibility age for Medicare, for each year increase is equivalent to about a 5% to 7% reduction of lifetime benefits, which are not necessary.

    Lindsey Graham and other GOP were laying out their
    "minimum requirements" of entitlement reductions for a deal, which is complete BS, since the both the Bush tax extension, and S.S. FICA payroll tax reduction automatically expire at the end of the year, with no permission required from the GOP.

    If prior to that point we propose a combined extension of the Bush income tax cuts, and an extra amount to offset the return of FICA payroll deduction to normal levels we can invite the GOP to support it or face the angry backlash of the voters.

    "We don't need any stinking GOP permission, or buy-in."  

    How many days of news coverage of their refusal to join Democrats in a tax cut for the middle class do you think they will withstand.  

    Democrats will seem to be pathetically stupid and weak if they fold with a hand like this and agree to an unnecessary reduction of social spending to make permanent  the massive Bush era expansion of defense spending.

    And, after those of us in the progressive wing of the Democrat Party have put aside "concerns" about many issues to pull all the stops  to elect more and better
    Democrats, we better not hear any crap from anyone, if we unleash a punishing tirade against any Democrats who betray our party's historic fidelity with the Social Security, Medicare, the elderly, poor, and sick.

    If blue dogs, centrists, our those with no negotiating skills join an unnecessary "grand compromise" that sells out S.S. or Medicare there will be consequences, and it will greatly damage the Democratic unity and momentum we have worked so hard to rebuild.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:33:38 PM PST

    •  well said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, TomP

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:38:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just read... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      defluxion10, HoundDog
      Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other House Republican leaders plan to meet on Wednesday with Erskine Bowles, the former White House chief of staff who served as Democratic co-chairman of President Obama’s debt commission

      “As we’ve seen in recent days, the American people support an approach that involves both major spending cuts and additional revenue via tax reform with lower tax rates. We look forward to talking to Mr. Bowles and other members of the coalition about their ideas to avert the ‘fiscal cliff’ without tax hikes that target small businesses and cost jobs.”

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:06:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Medicare can be helped. Increase medicare wages (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    renzo capetti

    for one. Aren't Medicare wages taken out on the first $106,000 only or something close to that? I am for making medicare and medcaid more efficient and solvent. I am NOT for cutting beneficiary benefits but very pro taming the waste for which Medicare is constantly threatened by.....SS is fine. Leave it alone. Raising the retirement age is a NON starter......

    •  What 'waste' is Medicare threatened by? (5+ / 0-)

      Medicare is not only extremely highly regarded by patients, it's much more efficient than private insurance companies, which waste quite a bit of money on marketing, sales, CEO salaries, etc., while Medicare is focused on providing services to patients. There's some debate about exactly what the numbers are (good summary at but Medicare's 1.3% overhead is well below the private industry average of 11.1%.

      Medicare's finances are covered through 2024. After that, revenue covers 87% of expenditures, so benefits would be cut by 13% automatically.

      Given that Medicare is already much more efficient than private insurance, making it "more efficient" won't generate any meaningful revenue. Reducing the number of people covered (e.g. by raising the age to qualify) is a false savings - the estimates are that each $1 saved by Medicare would cost patients $5, due to their losing Medicare's superior efficiency and ability to negotiate aggressive pricing, or going to the emergency room instead of using more efficient preventative treatments, etc.

      I'd suggest that the best way to strengthen Medicare would be to allow everyone to buy into it. In total this would save Americans a fortune, since Medicare is so much more efficient than private insurers.

    •  Raise the FICA cap... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....or whatever it's called. Collect FICA on income up to 250K. For billionaires make it a million $.

      I've crossed the line, I don't care what the wealthy have to pay anymore. They can afford it, plain and simple.

      Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

      by rreabold on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:04:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  About Time! But there's still room for worrying... (0+ / 0-)

    ... about how this "centrist/left" Senator might be inclined to compromise. Nevertheless, Sen. Durbin is in the right direction here. And he is leadership, so we can expect he'll influence others, if not already reflect their views.

    Frankly, I'd attribute Durbin's recent expressions of his positions on Social Security (don't touch) and Medicare (don't raise the age) as much to his cementing - if not enhancing - his leadership position in the Senate as to his run for re-election in 2014

    (But as for re-election, the cadre of long-standing Democratic leaders who slate candidates in Illinois have flubbed a number of picks in recent years. We need to keep in every office holder who's proven himself!)

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House.

    by TRPChicago on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:01:24 PM PST

  •  I am a lifelong Democrat activist but (6+ / 0-)

    my party needs to be forwarned.  Many many Dems (including yours truly) are NOT going along with a "Grand Bargain" that includes major cuts to the social safety net.  People are just holding on right now.  Major cuts would be devastating!    

  •  another don't give away the store story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Like that was an option.
    Drivel, really. Give back nothing. Improve, or stand pat.

    consider these terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout famine, acceptance of nature

    by renzo capetti on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:36:44 PM PST

  •  On a conference call Obama said the base (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was going to have to accept some bitter pills in this upcoming deal. Seems like the middle and lower  classes have done all the bitter pill swallowing around here. Name one bitter pill the 1% has had to swallow.

    Here's the one bitter pill I could swallow. Let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone, and watch the deficit go down.

    "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

    by hoplite9 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 03:35:35 AM PST

  •  Hurrah! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, greenbell, qofdisks

    Now will someone talk to David Plouffe.  He's out there saying loose things about entitlement changes in a grand bargain.  People assume that this is a replay of the last grand bargain where raising the Medicare age was proposed.  Enough of that bullshit!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 04:08:12 AM PST

  •  Also, I am okay with paying more (0+ / 0-)

    for health care based on retirement income.  I think that is a reasonable solution and wonder why the system hasn't been this way along.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 04:11:34 AM PST

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