Cumberland Times-News

January 27, 2013

Better to debate Medicare issue than merely to dismiss it

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— In George Michael’s column on Jan. 18 (“What if the ‘promise’ was a lie?) he claims that an article on Medicare by David Ellott from a “left leaning” organization affirms the program, but fails to reveal its real cost and who pays for it.

Had Michael not revealed his underlying distaste for the “bleeding hearts” that helped create Medicare, he might have succeeded in demonstrating his own objectivity.

I have benefitted greatly from Medicare over the past few years. The costs from my hospitalizations have far exceeded what I paid into the program. Sorry about that.

So am I sorry about the huge costs of our recent wars abroad and a number of other federal programs (including the salaries and Cadillac health care and pension benefits to congressmen).

National changes are sorely needed if we are really serious about drastically reducing our federal deficit.

Regarding a rational debate about the improvement of Medicare, one might include HR 676 as a plan to explore, alongside Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal — Michael’s preference.

Dr. Wayne Spiggle, a well-informed health care activist, has described HR 676 as a plan that would save $300 billion yearly, cover all citizens, eliminate deductibles, cover dental, nursing home care and pharmaceuticals.

In his judgment it would “take control of health care delivery out of the hands of insurance companies and drug manufacturers.” Spiggle recommends the web site of Physicians for a National Health Policy for more information.

In all likelihood Michael would vigorously oppose it as I would likely oppose Ryan’s alternative plan, based on his track record of opposition to federally-subsidized health care programs which I support.

But there should be room for honest debate about what is good for the country without using the kind of dismissive language Pastor Michael employs.

John Wiseman

Cumberland