House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says raising the eligibility age for Medicare benefits is just a political "trophy" for Republicans because the idea would not strengthen the program.
"We don't want to hurt beneficiaries," Pelosi told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday. "We certainly want to strengthen Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid. We want to make them more fiscally sound. We want to make sure that for the purpose that they have been instituted, they're honoring the purpose and the taxpayer, and the beneficiaries are getting their money's worth."
"The rising cost of health care in our country is the biggest increase to the rising cost of Medicare," she explained. "So stopping the drastic increase of the cost of health care is important for our whole economy and health care. Especially important when it comes to Medicare is it's already working -- 0.4 percent, the rate of increase, much slower than it had been. And as I said, Medicaid [is] not increasing. Now, we want to do better than that."
Pelosi pointed out that Democrats were willing to negotiate with Republicans if the objective was to strengthen earned benefits programs.
"But if the point of it is to take trophies -- 'Let's raise the age' -- that doesn't save money. It's a trophy, it's a scalp, but it's not a solution."
She concluded: "Raising the age, I'm very much against... We're not there to make [the programs] cash cows to give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our country and say, 'We're balancing the budget.'"
Watch this video from CNN's State of the Union, broadcast March 10, 2013.