Share This Page

Business Roundtable CEOs push higher retirement age of 70 for both Social Security, Medicare

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 7:58 p.m.

WASHINGTON — An influential group of business CEOs is pushing a plan to gradually increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.

The Business Roundtable's plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts, but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan presented on Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees also would be smaller.

Medicare recipients would be able to enroll in the traditional program or in private plans that could adjust premiums based on age and health status.

“America can preserve the health and retirement safety net and rein in long-term spending growth by modernizing Medicare and Social Security in a way that addresses America's new fiscal and demographic realities,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, president and chief executive of casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Loveman, who chairs the Business Roundtable's health and retirement committee, said the business leaders will be meeting with members of Congress and the Obama administration to press them to enact their plan.

The proposal comes as Republican leaders in Congress are calling for spending cuts as part of an agreement to increase the government's authority to borrow. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority as soon as mid-February, raising the possibility of an unprecedented national default.

President Obama has said he is willing to negotiate deficit reduction with GOP leaders but insists that those talks be separate from decisions to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. Obama has warned that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the economy could crash and Social Security checks and veterans' benefits would be delayed.

The Business Roundtable is an association of CEOs of some of the largest U.S. companies. Member companies account for nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market, according to the group.

The group has been an ally of Obama in the past, endorsing his proposal to raise taxes on high earners during negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” in December.

Obama has embraced some parts of the business group's plan for Social Security and Medicare, but he opposes any plan to privatize Medicare and has backed away from his earlier support for raising the eligibility age.

The proposal to offer private plans as part of Medicare is similar to one offered by Republican Mitt Romney when he ran for president last year. Obama and Democrats in Congress campaigned against it, making it unlikely to pass anytime soon.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.