Strengthen, don't privatize, Medicare

By Chris Gibbar
Letters, The Coloradoan, July 9, 2011

On July 30, Medicare will be 46 years old.

Prior to Medicare's creation, insurance companies routinely denied coverage to the elderly. Because the U.S., unlike other industrialized countries, never designed a universal healthcare plan for its citizens, untold numbers of seniors during their most vulnerable years were forced out of their homes and bankrupted by medical costs. Since its enactment, anyone over 65 qualifies for coverage, regardless of income or health status.

Medicare is less expensive to administer than private programs. Yet this wildly popular program is under attack. The Democratic Obama administration has offered to cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, and Republicans in Congress are making serious attempts to privatize not only Medicare but Social Security. Both parties are failing the American people.

It is up to each of us to save our vital public programs. We must step out of our partisan clothing and inform our elected officials, regardless of party affiliation, that their jobs are in jeopardy unless they stand with us. We must pay attention to their votes instead of their rhetoric.

If you care, as I do, about not only saving Medicare but offering it to all Americans as a right of citizenship under an "Improved Medicare for All" program, contact Cory Gardner, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall. Tell them that you will neither contribute to their campaigns nor vote for them unless they work to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, not privatize them.

Chris Gibbar lives in Fort Collins, Colo.