I have some suggestions for Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson as we are about to embark on the 115th Congress with a new president.
The election is over and you’ve won. You now hold America’s future in your hands. Please make decisions and laws based on what is good for America and the majority of its citizens. Please do not make decisions that only serve an ideology with which many Americans don’t agree. Please don’t make decisions that only benefit you and your political contributors. Specifically:
▪ Please don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). While it does need fixing, it certainly has provided millions of Americans (myself included) the opportunity to obtain health insurance, without being excluded for pre-existing conditions, and to have preventive screenings. The number of Americans having difficulty paying medical bills has actually declined due to Obamacare, based on recent newspaper reports.
▪ Please don’t change Medicare to a voucher system. The current system pays 80 percent of most medical expenses for seniors. Most working Americans and their employers have paid money into the system for decades, with the expectation that this safety net for which they have paid will be available when they retire. If you move to a voucher system, what will prevent insurance companies from continually raising premiums (as they have with Obamacare), causing the vouchers to cover less and less each year? Every older American has the right to good, reasonably priced health care, just as you have with your taxpayer-funded health insurance for life. If you want to reduce costs, allow the government to negotiate national prices for prescription drugs, and/or allow Americans to purchase their prescriptions from other countries if the prices are more reasonable.
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▪ Please don’t significantly alter Social Security. Again, all working Americans and their employers have paid money into this system, with the expectation that it would be invested and that the safety net will be there when they retire. This is not an entitlement in the negative sense, but retirement income for which we have paid. If you want to more fully fund it, eliminate the cap on wages taxed and bring all government employees into the system. Stop spending the current contributions in the general budget (as most administrations have), rather than investing the money as intended to grow and fund future payments to older Americans. You and all government employees have a taxpayer-funded retirement plan. Why shouldn’t all Americans have the Social Security payments that they have earned and to which they have contributed?
Please govern with compassion for all citizens, no matter what their background or country of origin. We are counting on you. Please, don’t let us down.
Marian Herz is a retired marketing and finance professional with an MBA, who will become eligible for Medicare and Social Security in the next few years.