Dear Madame L,
I just read that Sen. Joe Lieberman has proposed raising the age for Medicare to 67. He says it will save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. I see that he's 69 himself, so I guess it doesn't matter to him. Maybe when he's 71 he'll propose raising the age to 69. What are your thoughts on that?
Nowhere Near 67 But Hope To Get There Someday
Dear Nowhere Near,
Madame L is also hoping to make it to the age of 67 (because the alternative is simply not in her plans).
And, although she hopes to be so healthy that when she reaches whatever age is eligible for Medicare that she won't need anything more than the occasional checkup and flu shot, she really wonders what Lieberman was thinking when he came up with that chuckleheaded idea.
Madame L believes we should do exactly the opposite. We should extend Medicare because MEDICARE ACTUALLY SAVES MONEY!
And Madame L isn't the only one who recognizes this fact. Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has written extensively about this.
The U.S. spends more on health-care costs than any other industrialized country on Earth, and this is because our health care system is so privatized, Krugman says. Also, our system is not any better at providing quality health care to our citizens; in fact, it's worse than the others.
Besides that, people who haven't quite reached Medicare-coverage age now are caught in a bind already: They can't afford basic health care insurance, and so they're not taking care of themselves properly, putting off routine checkups and health care, not buying health- and life-saving prescription medicines, and waiting to have necessary procedures done until they qualify for Medicare.
Krugman's ideas are not new, but this kind of thinking has been batted down by the medical insurance industry and big pharmaceuticals since the national debate on health-care insurance began. That's why we didn't get the best national plan last year.
Please, Dear Readers, read Krugman's article in the New York Times. Then, write your representative and senators to let them know you want the BEST health care system for our seniors and for ALL of us.
Yours in health,