As the 49th anniversary of the Medicare Act approaches July 30, it is important that Coloradans and all Americans understand how critical Medicare is to keeping seniors out of poverty. For those who would cut benefits or do away with the program altogether under the guise of deficit reduction, we say look at history. Medicare was enacted in 1965 because half of American seniors couldn’t afford private insurance. Is private health insurance more affordable now? Hardly. Medicare saves money in a big way. Medicare’s overhead expenses are just 1 percent compared to 9 percent for private insurance and 6 percent for Medicare advantage. And, Medicare’s costs rise far more slowly than private insurance. Thanks to Obamacare, Part D prescription drugs will cost less as the “doughnut hole” is closed, and seniors don’t pay out of pocket for mammograms, diabetes or cancer screenings. That makes for healthier seniors who cost the government less. Let’s keep Medicare strong and stop those who would cut the benefits seniors need.
Mary Kay Kisseberth, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare