Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Fri, April 19

Letter: Socialism already works in U.S.

I don't write to the Miner much anymore because, as Rep. Barney Frank (not Trent) said the other day at a town hall event in Massachusetts, "to discuss something with you is like talking to the dining room table." However, healthcare reform including a public option is too important for me to not say anything.

For the past 17 years, I've received a good portion of my income from socialism's Social Security. As time goes on and the purchasing power of my company's fixed dollar pension dwindles, my Social Security tries to keep up with inflation. I really appreciate that!

Also, for the past 14 years I've been covered by American socialism's greatest achievement, Medicare! During that period I've had a hernia repair operation, several skin cancer removals including MOH's on my face, and a major eight-hour prostate cancer surgery, which leaves me a cancer survivor - assuming they got it all!

Now, if I were to listen to the know-nothings in this debate, I would assume that government-sponsored Medicare would specify the who, what and how I might have been treated over the years, but such is not the case. Aside from Medicare paying most of the bills (yes, I do pay a premium and co-pays), the government is invisible!

I have the plain vanilla version of Medicare with no private insurance or HMO other than my optional supplemental insurance which pays 18 percent of the 20 percent the government doesn't pay. Therefore, I can choose any doctor, clinic or hospital I wish and I have never been refused treatment! Although they aren't required to, they all seem to accept Medicare. Furthermore, the government doesn't even know about my medical condition until after they receive the bill from my provider! So much for prior condition concerns - they don't know, nor care!

All insurance, public or private, has what the nay-sayers call "rationing." In other words, the policies usually won't pay for such silliness as face-lifts for once pretty but aging women or boob implants for the younger but stylishly disadvantaged set.

However, let me give you an example of more serious rationing, which was eventually rectified. People suffering rheumatoid arthritis, a painful auto-immune disease, were permitted to receive Medicare coverage for Remicade treatments because it was performed in a doctor's office.

Subsequently, several similar products were devised, Enbrel, Humira, etc., which could do the same thing through injections at home. These products were considered drugs because they were self-administered rather than in a doctor's office. The problem was not resolved until Congress created Medicare drug coverage.

Many of us have suggested healthcare reform to be simply a Medicare for all program originally proposed by Harry Truman. After all, Medicare is affordable. Its overhead cost is 3 percent as opposed to 17 to 20 percent for private insurance companies. It already covers the sickest of Americans, the elderly, so the cost per person if everyone were to be covered would be much less - after all, when I was young, I seldom went to a doctor - I didn't need to. But under the circumstances, it would be almost impossible for that to happen. The insurance industry, which obviously would be impacted by such legislation, is pouring every dollar they can into defeating such legislation. They're spending millions on propaganda and, yes, buying politicians - especially those who, in their confusion with reality, equate socialism with communism and our president as Hitler, a fascist, born in Africa to a Muslim terrorist! Certainly not a real American ... and I'll bet that some of you actually believe that stuff!

However, it is a fact that we here in Arizona can forget about contacting our representatives, McCain, Kyle and Franks, who you elected, about healthcare because they had already made up their minds long before the subject ever came up in Congress! You folks haven't done much better on the local front with your election of a legislature which is bent upon flushing Arizona down the toilet! But no need to tell you - you already know that.

Al Gleason

Kingman

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