Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

The real story on GOP's plan

To the editor:

There is so much disinformation in Marilyn Dudek's letter that one shakes his head in dismay. Consider her opening statement: "In April our representative Greg Walden voted for the GOP budget which effectively ends Medicare andhellip;"

The Congressional Budget Office is predicting that Medicare will go bankrupt in 2021. The Democrats' solution for this crisis is contained within Obamacare. Beginning in 2015, there will be a cap on total spending on Medicare. If spending threatens to exceed this cap, a new board will cut Medicare payment rates for medical service providers.

This four-decade-old approach for controlling Medicare's costs hasn't worked yet, but does drive out willing providers. Already some Medicare beneficiaries are finding it difficult to find doctors. Further provider cuts will only make this situation worse. And even with Obamacare in place, the Congressional Budget Office is still predicting Medicare's bankruptcy in 2021.

Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan's Medicare proposal is that current retirees and those retiring through 2022 will continue to receive traditional Medicare. After that, those beginning their retirement will be enrolled in a health care plan similar to the current program for prescription drug coverage, which was enacted in 2003.

Today, Medicare beneficiaries can choose from several dozen plans offered by multiple providers for their prescription drug coverage. With so many plans to choose from, each person can find a plan which best suits one's own circumstances. Best of all, at the end of each year, anyone dissatisfied with his insurer for any reason can change to another insurer. As a result, most seniors are satisfied with their coverage.

Competition is stiff, and insurers know that they must keep their rates low to attract price-conscious enrollees. Consequently, costs for this program are expected to come in at 47 percent below expectations for the first decade.

This is the GOP plan for Medicare for which our congressman voted. Nothing will change for present retirees. In the future, retirees will have a health care program similar to the successful prescription drug coverage now in place, a program which shows that spiraling out-of-control Medicare costs can be brought under control.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Making page more reader-friendly

To the editor:

I am a regular reader, and usually readeditorials, but I virtually never read the bottom of the op-ed page's Oregon Editorial Roundup. I think I figured out why.

(1) It is a lot of copy to read that, unfortunately, begins with the name of a newspaper and date, presented in a heavy, sluggish bold type

(2) Readers' attention is grabbed by headlines of all sizes, but this copy has littleheadline.

My suggestion would be to run the topic of each as a headline, then follow it with guest credits, maybe in italics.

Keep up the good work of thrice-weekly news.

Linda Bergeron


Editor's Note: We've taken note of Linda's suggestion and tried a new approach with the roundup at the bottom of this page. Let us know what you think about the change:

WRITE: To the editor, Baker City Herald, P.O. Box 807, Baker City, OR 97814; or


FAX: 541-523-6426