Letters to the Editor for June 20, 2011

By Baker City Herald Readers June 20, 2011 05:32 pm

We deserve better health care
To the editor:

We deserve government policies that meet our real and urgent needs for good-paying jobs and affordable health insurance. But some current proposals are actually harmful.

In his constituent letter dated April 29, our U.S. Congressman, Greg Walden, said, “You deserve a fact-based conversation on the budget.” And he repeatedly assured us that, “I understand fairness. That is why our budget does not propose any changes to Medicare. . . for those 55 and older."

Instead of being mollified because the Republican Medicare plan doesn’t affect me, I believe that those of us now 55 and older have a responsibility to join fully in this debate. To me, real fairness would require that those now under 55 – our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – will receive excellent, affordable health care as they become elderly. And this will not be achieved by handing them limited-value vouchers that each year pay an ever-smaller share of private insurance premiums. They should not be forced to shoulder many trillions of dollars of added expense for unnecessary, wasteful, private insurance. 

Currently, the United States of America has twice the health care expense per person than do other industrialized nations, and we get poorer health outcomes. So, there’s plenty of money around to pay for excellent health care for all citizens, if we had, say, improved Medicare for all.

Walden boasted that his budget would cut $6.2 trillion in spending over the next decade, which slashes government employees and services, and forgoes any real hope of new job creation. But a “fact-based conversation” would tell us that his budget actually results in annual budget deficits each year for the next 28 years. Why? Because it also funnels more money to the top elite, with an unbelievable $2.9 trillion in additional tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

Walden’s budget is actually just part of an ongoing, ideological attack on Medicare and government in general, this time wrapped up in an overblown deficit-reduction scare campaign that benefits only those who already have most of the money.  We deserve much better. Let’s join together to create practical solutions that work for everyone.

Marshall McComb
Baker City