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Letters: Should seniors pay more to save Medicare?

September 08, 2012

Re "Seniors must pay more to fix Medicare," Opinion, Sept. 4

Jeffrey Miron proposes an annual deductible of $6,400 for Medicare recipients. As of January 2012, the average Social Security income is $1,230 a month. Yes, there will be annual cost-of-living increases, but currently the maximum monthly benefit is $2,513. Even if that doubles in the next 20 years (and it won't — in 20 years my monthly payment increased by 62%), $6,400 is unrealistic.

Miron says Medicare makes minimal use of deductibles or co-pays. It does have a small annual deductible of $120, but it currently pays only 80% of approved charges. Isn't that a co-pay? To cover the remaining 20% costs me nearly $400 a month.

Changes do need to be made to ensure the survival of Medicare, and increasing the deductible, perhaps based on income, may be the way to go. But Miron's $6,400 is exorbitant.

Gloria C. Sever


As a Medicare beneficiary and a physician, I thank Miron for his article.

The program is clearly unsustainable as it stands, and the American people have two choices: allow the government to decide what healthcare you will be permitted to have, or for those 55 years and younger (optional for those older), let the government cut you a yearly check and you decide what to spend it on.

The alternatives are plain and unambiguous. What is your preference?

Gregory Polito


I laugh when people talk about patients needing to "economize" on healthcare. Is there any other service or product that you buy from a person who neither sets his own pricing nor can tell you what you will ultimately pay for the service? That's how medical care works in our for-profit system, and it's absolutely crazy.

Complexity increases cost, and adding confusion doesn't help people make good decisions. Find another way to keep Medicare solvent without modeling it after the for-profit insurance industry.

Joanne Zirretta

Aliso Viejo


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