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I am disappointed in the usually insightful Jesse Corn for his column in Friday’s Times. He takes our elderly to task for being “selfish” in their desire for compassionate quality medical care during their final years.
Critical of objections to proposed cuts in Medicare benefits, his words are cruel and callous: “The old of this country apparently fail to see that by selfishly pursuing the destruction of this program for their own gain, they will break the social contract with the young who have to fund it. “
What social contract? Mr. Corn laments that today’s younger are paying for the needs of elders. Where does he believe the uncapped 3 percent Medicare tax on income and other taxes paid over some 50 years of working lives by our elders went?
Flash! That’s the contract. That’s civilization.
Beyond that, it should be noted that Medicare services are not free to patients. They bear the cash costs of deductibles and co-pays, and for drugs up to some $2,900 annually. Annual insurance premiums continue throughout life. For this single elder, premiums alone are in excess of $5,000. This is significant to those relying on Social Security and now diminished pension funds.
Bedside providers barely profit from Medicare fees, if at all, and they should be applauded, for without their acceptance the system would have failed long ago.
There is no doubt that the Medicare age group, most of whom have lost 50 percent, give or take, of already stagnant private pension funds, are vulnerable to the scurrilous propaganda emanating from profit- and politically motivated constituencies. However, the solution does not lie in vilifying and abandoning a segment of our society.
Perhaps Mr. Corn should look to those who benefit from the propaganda; the supporters of no bulk negotiation of pharmaceutical company charges for medication, sweetheart deals for appliances, extending patents on biologicals, bans on drug importation and an insurance industry that insists on Dow Jones CEO salaries, and profits for shareholders.
W. Lorraine Watkins