Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
In defense of Medicare
Re "GOP is back with a revised Medicare overhaul," March 17
Let's remember that Republicans were against Medicare when it was established in 1965, and they've been opposed to it ever since.
Let's also remember that the payroll tax we pay 45 years later is 1.45% despite the fact that for years medical costs have risen much more.
Couple that with the shifting demographic of retiring baby boomers and the fact that Medicare paid for the healthcare of a generation of Americans who paid relatively little into the system, and is there any doubt as to why the system is in trouble?
Slashing benefits or ending the system as we know it aren't the only alternatives — we pay ever-increasing premiums to insurance companies so they can deny us coverage on the flimsiest of excuses — so why not "man up" and increase the tax for Medicare to more realistically cover its costs? It is by far the most efficient portion of our healthcare "system." Let's keep it that way.
The Times correctly points out that typical voters "overwhelmingly support keeping Medicare as is" and "favor … taxing wealthy Americans … to bring the budget into balance." It is also true that the Medicare program is not in deficit.
So, when there is so much else within the federal budget to redline (perhaps immoral, senseless wars, for example) why is it we must continue providing Rep.Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) space to proclaim his "moral courage" in his never-ending attack on Medicare? Sadly, Ryan missed the history that compelled the creation of Medicare: healthcare costs were sending the elderly to the poorhouse and, consequently, into the arms of the state for their support.
Geoffrey N. Lachner
Ryan is quoted as saying: "And I really think the politics, if we help push it, will turn to rewarding the people who are bold in taking on the problems, and penalizing the people who don't."
Nowhere is the GOP's doctrine of selfishness more evident than in this statement.
By Ryan's own admission, he's revealing that the true motivation for his double-down gamble on destroying Medicare is simply to create an opportunity to further his political career.