Diane Capps: Hands off my Medicare | SteamboatToday.com

Diane Capps: Hands off my Medicare

Hands off my Medicare. It works great. Talk to retired people, and you hear very few complaints.

Trump, Pence, Ryan, Republicans, what are you going to do to save it?

Fifty-seven million of us rely on Medicare to afford health care.

Medicare was a bipartisan policy overwhelming passed by both houses of Congress and signed by LBJ because in 1965 insurance companies would not insure older people at an affordable rate and seniors were losing their homes and savings to medical expenses.

President Trump, during your campaign you repeatedly vowed to protect Medicare. But now, your website supports efforts to ’modernize’ Medicare. Which is it and what will that mean for seniors who depend on Medicare?

President Trump, choosing Tom Price to run the Department of Health and Human Services, a man who has been an advocate of Ryan’s Medicare cuts but told Face the Nation he guarantees Medicare for seniors. Which is it and what will that mean for seniors who depend on Medicare?

President Trump, repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) is a major early goal of your administration. ACA made a number of improvements in Medicare — closing the gap in the drug coverage (the donut hole) providing preventive services such as flu shots and screenings for cancer and diabetes and cutting excess provider payments improving stability of the program.

Improved prescription drug coverage has saved seniors over $20 billion in drug costs. ACA has also helped to fund Medicare hospital benefits until 2028. If ACA is repealed and does away with those preventive services what will that mean for seniors who depend on Medicare? (We know it will mean a large tax cut for the very rich.)

Vice-President Pence, you backed GOP efforts to reduce federal investments in Medicare and have backed Ryan’s proposal but during the campaign you said that a Medicare overhaul is not on the table. Which is it and what will that mean for seniors who depend on Medicare?

Speaker Ryan, your proposal would replace Medicare, which is a program guaranteeing a certain level of health coverage by paying about 80 percent of costs associated with doctor and hospital visits. Your proposal would convert Medicare to a program that, instead of guaranteeing a level of coverage, would set a dollar amount for Medicare beneficiaries to pay premiums on insurance bought from private-sector companies giving insurance companies control.

Your plan would require seniors to shop for their own insurance policies and figure out their coverage no matter their age or health. What will that mean for seniors who depend on Medicare?

We learned about medical expense first hand when my husband had two surgeries and a long rehab after going on Medicare. While still working, we had good insurance provided by our employer for a reasonable monthly premium.

So, it was a shock to realize how much of the cost was our responsibility now that we are not working. We realized then how important all we paid into Medicare/Medicaid while we were working translated to Medicare, a critical benefit to our retirement.

Yes, we need to cut costs of health care. Yes, we need to cut waste with stronger fraud prevention enforcement. Yes, we need to cut prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiating drug prices with drug companies like the VA does. But changing a program that keeps seniors healthy, out of the hospital emergency rooms and nursing homes should be considered with care.

President Trump, Vice-President Pence and Republican Congressmen, find a way to save our Medicare as promised. Seniors and about to be seniors contact your senators and your representatives and help save our Medicare.

Diane Capps

Steamboat Springs

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