An eye doctor from Ottumwa who’s running for congress says it may be time to have staggered enrollment in Medicare, just like the Social Security system. If you wait ’til you’re 67 to retire, your monthly Social Security benefits are greater than it you’d retired at the age of 62.
Marianette Miller-Meeks, the Republican challenging Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack, says Americans are living far longer than they did when Medicare was established 44 years ago.
“For younger people, to have their ability to access Medicare at a later age, is to be able to keep this system solvent,” Miller-Meeks says.
Sixty-five is the current age at which Americans enroll in Medicare and Miller-Meeks says no one who’s currently age 65 years or older should lose any of their benefits. But she’s willing to consider changes for Americans who are under the age of 50, like pushing back the age at which they enroll in Medicare.
“It’s a long-term vision and I do think that is one of the things that we should be looking at,” Miller-Meeks says.
The average life expectancy was about 70 years when Medicare was created. Today, Americans, on average, live seven years longer.
Miller-Meeks is making a second attempt to unseat Congressman Loebsack and she left her job last year to campaign full-time. Curt Meeks lost his job at an Ottumwa hospital this summer, and Miller-Meeks briefly considered withdrawing as a candidate and resuming her work as an eye doctor.
“He didn’t call me until 4. He found out at 8:15 and I said, ‘Well, I’ll just come home,’ and he said, ‘No, you need to go and campaign. Your job is to win this election,'” Miller-Meeks says. “So he was very supportive that I needed to continue to campaign.”
About a month later her husband landed a new job as chief compliance officer at a health care clinic in Ottumwa. While he gets health insurance coverage through that job, she has opted to go without.