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Medicare should be for everyone

Letters, Ogden Standard-Examiner
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Your Editorial Board has the right idea--'grab control of medicare'--but the exactly wrong method. Instead of raising the age for eligibility for Medicare to 67 as your editorial suggests, we should lower it--to 0. That's right--0. Everyone should be covered by Medicare from birth. Why is that? You have to understand how insurance works. Insurance creates a big pool of money by charging a little bit to a lot of people, then paying out a lot of money to very few people. So health insurance works best when there are lots and lots of health people paying premiums but not using the medical care. Moving the Medicare age to 67 is EXACTLY the wrong move, because it reduces the number of (relatively healthy) 65 year olds paying premiums to support the (relatively less healthy) 67 years olds. To grab control of Medicare, we the people should demand that this government program benefit ALL of us, not just the sickest and the oldest. We already pay premiums into Medicare to support over-65 lucky Medicare beneficiaries. Why should those premiums not also be used to provide health insurance for all of us. If we, the healthy, paid a fair premium into Medicare, it would be far less than the amount that profit-making insurance companies now suck out of our pay. And the healthy younger people paying premiums now could look forward to a lifetime of guaranteed medical care--all of it delivered by private doctors and hospitals. Why should people over 65 be the only people with guaranteed health insurance? All of us deserve that guarantee--after all, we pay start there and see if we can't 'grab control of Medicare' and make it work for everyone.

Clark Newhall, M.D., J.D.
Salt Lake City