Letters to the Editor

Not my care!

October 27, 2010


To the editor:

I received a campaign mailing recently telling me I should be against a certain candidate. It was from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and advised me to tell that candidate that I’m “one of the majority of Americans who don’t want government-run health care.”

Well, I got my Medicare card in the mail this summer. And I’d like to assure the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that I do, indeed, want “government-run health care.”

Too bad they made it so difficult to find someplace on their website to tell them: “Keep your U.S. Chamber of Commerce hands off my Medicare!”

Kendall Simmons,



Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

“Strengthen Our Social Security.” Check it out at http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/

Ending Medicare Advantage Overpayments Would Strengthen Medicare

One of the key cost-saving provisions Congress is considering as part of health reform legislation would eliminate the large overpayments Medicare makes to the private “Medicare Advantage” health plans that serve some Medicare beneficiaries. While private plans ostensibly were brought into Medicare to reduce costs, they actually increase Medicare spending because it costs substantially more, on average, to cover a Medicare beneficiary through a private plan than through traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

Eliminating the overpayments would lower the premiums that people in traditional Medicare pay and shore up Medicare’s finances, while helping pay both for needed Medicare improvements and for health reform legislation that seeks to achieve near-universal coverage.

Medicare Advantage Overpayments Raise Premiums and Weaken Medicare’s Finances http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=2917

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Improve and strengthen Medicare by expanding it to all The following text is the testimony that Dr. Margaret Flowers presented to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform at its June 30 hearing in Washington. Dr. Flowers is congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program.

I am Dr. Margaret Flowers and I am here today on behalf of Physicians for a National Health Program, the leading physician research, education and advocacy organization in support of a truly universal single-payer health system in the United States. I will speak specifically about the contribution of health care costs to our national deficit and the evidence-based remedy to control these costs.

When compared to health care in other advanced nations, the United States excels in only one area – the amount of money spent per capita per year. Despite our high spending, the U.S. leaves a third of the population either uncovered or underinsured and thus vulnerable to financial ruin.


Cait McKnelly 7 years, 6 months ago

It's interesting to me that insurance companies are fighting tooth and nail to stop legislation being passed that would ensure that 80% of health care premiums paid would indeed go to pay for health care. In 2008 the CEO of Aetna (the insurance carrier that provides my health insurance) was paid over 3.04 million dollars. I guess he doesn't like the idea that maybe a million or so will be shaved off of that.

Lindsey Buscher 7 years, 6 months ago

Expansion of Government run health insurance was not part of the Health Insurance Reform bill that was passed. In fact, government-run health care was never really on the table, rather, it was government administered health insurance.

I don't think I want government-run health care, but I would prefer government-run health insurance. Maybe if we framed it that way then a majority of rational Americans would be in favor.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Actually, many people are against the idea of Medicare for all as well.

Seth Peterson 7 years, 6 months ago

Eh oh TinkyWinky! Parroting misinformation now?

Ignorance! Moving on.

beatrice 7 years, 6 months ago

"Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"

I'm not sure if I like that more or less than the "I'm not a witch" commercials as a symbol for the 2010 election.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Republicans still want to turn Medicare over to the insurance companies which is extremely reckless. Throwing more our our hard earned tax dollars at the medical insurance industry is nothing more than fraud against consumers.

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care 24/7 including: long term care such that cancer demands prescription drugs hospital surgical outpatient services primary and preventive care emergency services dental mental health home health physical therapy rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) vision care hearing services including hearing aids chiropractic durable medical equipment palliative care long term care.

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 annually for all health care costs with National Health Insurance.

National Health Insurance ends deductibles and co-payments. National Health Insurance would save an estimated $400 billion annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Improved Medicare Insurance for All would provide real medical insurance reform!

The United States spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on healthcare – $8160 per capita – yet performs poorly in comparison and leaves over 46 million people without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

Expanded and Improved Medicare for All is the solution.

  • Easy to Implement: Medicare has been in existence since 1966, it provides healthcare to those 65 and older, and satisfaction levels are high. The structure is already in place and can be easily expanded to cover everyone.

  • Simple: One entity – established by the government – would handle billing and payment at a cost significantly lower than private insurance companies. Private insurance companies spend about 31% of every healthcare dollar on administration. Medicare now spends about 3%.

  • Real Choice: An expanded and improved Medicare for All would provide personal choice of doctors and other healthcare providers. While financing would be public, providers would remain private. As with Medicare, you chose your doctor, your hospital, and other healthcare providers.

  • State and Local Tax Relief: Medicare for All would assume the costs of healthcare delivery, thus relieving the states and local governments of the cost of healthcare, including Medicaid, and as a result reduce State and local tax burdens.

  • Expanded coverage: Would cover all medically necessary healthcare services – no more rationing by private insurance companies. There would be no limits on coverage, no co-pays or deductibles, and services would include not only primary and specialized care but also prescription drugs, dental, vision, mental health services, and long-term care.

  • Everyone In, Nobody Out: Everyone would be eligible and covered. No longer would doctors ask what insurance you have before they treat you.

  • No More Overpriced Private Health Insurance: Medicare for All would eliminate the need for private health insurance companies who put profit before healthcare, unfairly limit choice, restrict who gets coverage, and force people into bankruptcy.

  • Lower Costs: Most people will pay significantly less for healthcare. Savings will be achieved in reduced administrative costs and in negotiated prices for prescription drugs.

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

“Keep your U.S. Chamber of Commerce hands off my Medicare!”

Too bad the LTE writer isn't saying the same thing to our president, whose health care 'reform" depends on substantial cuts to Medicare spending.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

"In addition, we need an array of good social programs such as, “Medicare for all” so people don’t lose their health care benefits when they lose their jobs."

Job-loss in manufacturing presents serious problems. Some people lose their jobs and most are unlikely to get jobs that pay equivalent wages, even if overall employment picks up. These people suffer, and so do their families and communities. More broadly, the strong unions that developed in manufacturing are weakened, undercutting the economic and political strength of all working people.

But these negative impacts don’t have to take place. There is no good reason why we have to accept the choices of cutting foreign trade or cutting jobs, of reducing technological change or reducing jobs, or, for that matter, of destroying the environment (e.g., off-shore drilling and clear cutting of forests) or destroying jobs. Instead we can find ways to prevent the costs of economic changes from falling on workers, their families, and their communities.

One positive step would be to assure that productivity gains yield shorter work-weeks with no cut in pay—that is, no loss in the number of jobs. After all, this has happened before. Also, we need to establish the conditions for rebuilding strong unions in all segments of the economy—for example, by passing the Employee Free Choice Act and assuring that the National Labor Relations Board does its job.

In addition, we need an array of good social programs such as, “Medicare for all” so people don’t lose their health care benefits when they lose their jobs. Likewise, better support for education and training programs for all workers—not just those affected by imports—are essential to facilitate their adjustment to change.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

What sends medicare expenses through the roof sometimes?

Flag waving Republican criminals such as the Sen Bill Frist family = HCA Inc defrauds Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare (the federal program that covers the military and their families)

"What did HCA do? It inflated its expenses and billed the government for the overrun; it billed the government for services ineligible for reimbursement (like advertising and marketing costs). HCA violated both law and medical ethics when, as Forbes put it, "the company increased Medicare billings by exaggerating the seriousness of the illnesses they were treating.

It also granted doctors partnerships in a company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors' referring patients to HCA. In addition, it gave doctors 'loans' that were never expected to be paid back, free rent, free office furniture -- and free drugs from hospital pharmacies."

This is the ethical climate that reigned in the Frist family's money machine. In an unguarded moment, Senator Frist told the Boston Globe that conversations with his doctor father about the family calling were like "benign versions of the Godfather and Michael Corleone."

Apparently the senator considers defrauding the government "benign." So too did the Bush White House, which dictated the Justice Department deal with HCA that let the crooks escape jail just as Frist was being anointed the Senate's majority leader. A pure coincidence in timing, of course."



Frank Smith 7 years, 6 months ago

It seems worth of mention that the misinformation spread around by the Tea Party is paid for by David H. and Charles de Ganahl Koch, to the Kansas and U.S. Chambers, a.k.a. "Koch "Ho's."

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