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Increases in Medicare

October 05, 1987

The Administration has really lowered the boom on the elderly with its 38.5% increase of Part B Medicare health insurance fee for next year ("New Medicare Burden," Editorial, Sept. 20). The increase is scandalous and for the millions of low-income elderly and disabled persons, it is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.

That's a total increase of 125% since President Reagan took office in 1981 when the fee for Part B was $11. The hospital deductible has also skyrocketed from $204 in 1981 to the anticipated $540 in 1988. That's a 165% increase.

When you contrast 125% and 165% to the 22.7% total increment in the cost of living increase for the same period, it is apparent that those who can least afford it, the elderly, are getting a bad shuffle, especially in view of the magnanimous tax breaks given to corporate entities and the wealthy during the same period. Who is serving "special interests?"

I agree wholeheartedly with the editorial's observation that, "The problem of spiraling costs in American health care need to be addressed," but instead of foisting the burden of increased costs onto the vulnerable elderly, we should address the areas responsible for increased costs.

CARL M. LEVIN

Los Angeles

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