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'Standing Firm on Medicare'

February 05, 1989

Despite your editorial ("Standing Firm on Medicare," Jan. 30) support for the Catastrophic Medicare Act, it needs to be amended in several respects.

It does not address the real problem of long-term nursing care--in fact, it exacerbates it. Physicians will be pressured by patients and their families to keep them in hospitals (at no cost) instead of releasing them to nursing homes or home care. In other words, services follow money.

It destroys the basic concept of Social Security and Medicare that all employed persons and all taxpayers share the costs of these programs.

Disability beneficiaries under age 65 pay nothing.

While Congress is talking of increasing taxes to reduce the federal deficit, it has already imposed a 15% income surtax on the aged this year, increasing to 28% in 1993. Only if all their medical providers accept Medicare assignment, however, will their costs be limited to this staggering increase.

Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Los Angeles) wrote an article, "Neglecting What the Elderly Need Most," which appeared in the June 7, 1988, issue of the Washington Post. He wrote, in part, "Congress ought to go back to square one and take a good hard look at what our nation's most pressing health care needs really are and what options we have for paying for them."

I agree.


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