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Medicare Changes Bode Ill for Seniors

May 01, 2003

Re "Crunch Time for Medicare Overhaul," April 28:

Tom Scully, one of Medicare's top officials, is quoted as saying: "For seniors on Medicare nothing's going to change ... change will happen so incrementally most people won't notice it." Mr. Scully, I am quite aware of the fact that my benefits (Medicare/HMO) have decreased or become more expensive (co-payments added, increased or both), while at the same time the amount that I pay the federal government for Medicare goes up every year. All under the guise of "improvement."

Can anyone explain how this will be accomplished at the same time as budget reductions driven by tax reductions?

Improvement means reduced benefits at higher cost, delivered with sweet talk from people like Scully and our "compassionate conservative" president.

Thomas W. McCarthy

Chino Hills


Your article quotes Bill Pierce, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services: "The [Medicare prescription] drug benefit is the dessert. If you give them just dessert, they won't come back for dinner." The arrogance of this remark by a public servant is almost unbelievable.

An average $2,440 annual cost for an older American's prescription drugs isn't dessert; for most it's money taken from that needed for adequate food and housing.

Jerry Smith

Yorba Linda

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