By Sandra Wright
Carroll County (Md.) Times, Letters, Aug. 31, 2015
Recently, two government programs extremely important to seniors, Social Security and Medicare, both celebrated birthdays. This letter is about Medicare.
Before Medicare, most seniors in this country had no health insurance. Private insurance companies determined they couldn’t make money insuring the elderly. When seniors became ill, often they and their caring became impoverished trying to provide the necessary care.
Medicare stopped that!
Medicare also stimulated the development of needed regulations, medicines and technologies.
The Commonwealth Fund that has compared health care in the rich countries since 1998 wrote, “Medicare is more protective than all the different insurance plans those under 65 have in the U.S. Nonetheless, our older population still compares unfavorably to our richer neighbors.”
We lead in older citizens having two or more chronic diseases (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.).
The other wealthy countries have health care programs, either single-payer national programs or government-subsidized and regulated health insurance, for all their citizens all their lives at lower costs than ours. Many U.S. citizens have not always had health insurance and have forgone care at different times in life because of cost.
A dear friend, in business for herself, went 20 years without coverage because she couldn’t afford it. Turning 65 was a joyous celebration. Finally, she was covered under Medicare.
Physicians For A National Health Program (PNHP) has written, “We need one risk pool for everyone so that the $1.66 billion we are spending could provide a rich benefits package for everyone, if allocated properly.”
We need improved Medicare for all to be covered at all stages of our lives, and we can afford it!
One granny celebrating Medicare’s recent 50h birthday held a poster, “Everybody In! Nobody Out!” demonstrating her compassion for the 120 Americans who die daily due to lack of care. That is 45,000 of our citizens who die needlessly every year for lack of care!
Many years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Sandra Wright is a member of the Carroll County chapter of Healthcare is a Human Right. She resides in Westminster.