Letter to the Editor - June 8

June 08, 2012

Medicare cuts will lead to more bankruptcies

To the editor:

In trying to wade through the clutter of nonsense and noise of an election year, I have come to at least one conclusion — a reduction of Medicare benefits will cost the American taxpayer more than it saves.

There is no question that a transfer of medical costs from Medicare back to the individual will result in a substantial increase in personal bankruptcy filings. It is hard to sift through the data to mine the facts, but the evidence is clear.

While medical costs are not the primary cause of the 1.5 million bankruptcy filings, more than 50 percent cite medical issues as prompting their bankruptcy. Medical costs in most instances is merely the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Excessive credit card spending, generally living beyond one’s means and not having a savings cushion to fall back on have pushed a portion of our society to the point that when the unexpected medical emergency arises, many have no wealth base to draw on and go bankrupt.

What then? Illness does not go away; the cost is merely transferred back to the people, many of whom are not capable of paying for their care. These people will receive the most expensive medical care through emergency room treatment. 

Who pays for these hidden costs? The average American pays more for goods and services to make up for the amount that the bankruptcies cost the merchants. We will pay more for our health insurance to make up for those who can’t pay and misuse the system.

The cost to our society for not having a public health care system exceeds the cost of a public health care system. Doing away with Medicare benefits is not the solution. What about means testing? The cost of slightly higher deductibles and co-pay based upon income level will be less costly in the long run than a sicker, more bankrupt society.

Bob Ayrer
Falling Waters, W.Va.

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