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What Do You Think?

December 17, 2009

Editor's note: The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments when voting. A sampling of edited reader comments will run on The Herald-Mail's Opinion page on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The question posted Monday was: Should a plan to let uninsured people as young as 55 purchase Medicare coverage be included in a health care reform bill?

Poll results:

Yes - 327 votes (42 percent)

No - 461 votes (58 percent)




o "To pile on an extra burden on a government agency that is in serious trouble makes no sense. Why not have the president and a bipartisan group from Congress meet with the leaders of the insurance companies to try to work out some solutions to the problem of health care? Does the answer to every problem always have to be the government? In this case, the president and Congress could help to facilitate solutions to the problems working with the private sector instead of being directly involved and trying to eliminate free enterprise. Faced with the prospect of losing their businesses to a government takeover, these businesses might be open to reforms."

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o "Real dumb idea. Medicare is already strapped with tens of trillions of dollars of 'unfunded liability.' It, like Social Security, is pay as you go. A 'trust fund' for these programs is a 'sucker punch' to taxpayers. Trust funds that accumulate any sizable amount of reserve 'will' be raided for other 'necessities.' The demographic problem of the baby boomer generation coming of age is going to break all of these 'entitlement' programs. Medicare and Medicaid are a large part of the current cost overruns due to 'cost shifting.' Expanding either or both will just exacerbate the cost problems."

o "One thing that would help is to start 'means testing' both Social Security and Medicare. We need to change the thinking on the 'sacred promise of Medicare.' How does it look that we are so concerned about the poor who cannot afford health care, while at the same time providing a large percentage of the health care costs of many seniors who are, in fact, quite wealthy and could provide for themselves? Shouldn't means testing at least be a part of this effort?"

o "I voted no. Medicare is a term used for insurance for the elderly. There may be another product they can buy, but call it something else. Do not confuse things for the medical providers any more than they already are."

o "Most of the 55-plus population won't be able to afford the Medicare buy-in premiums."

o "No. How can a program that is going bankrupt and threatened with a big decrease in funds support any more people? Medicare doesn't pay enough now to cover medical expenses. People need a backup insurance to cover the amount not covered and those without that backup insurance do not pay, so those with backup insurance must pay extra for all. ... This is not a well thought-out option and if passed, will doom Medicare to bankruptcy sooner."

o "Medicare is broke. The federal government is broke. The post office is broke. Social Security is going broke. Why not fix what is broken before adding any more programs?"

o "I voted yes. And by the way, Herald-Mail, thanks for writing 'as young as 55.'"

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