Medicare cuts could harm senior citizensI am glad to hear...

the Forum

July 25, 1995

Medicare cuts could harm senior citizens

I am glad to hear Congress talking about the need to preserve and protect Medicare for current and future generations, but I am not convinced that lawmakers who support major cuts to the program are telling us the whole story.

Everyone agrees that deficit reduction is necessary to ensure the country's continued economic strength.

But deficit reduction that focuses primarily on Medicare and Medicaid is not fair, because it puts the burden mostly on middle- and lower-income families.

Lawmakers who have targeted Medicare say the cuts are necessary to save the trust fund from going broke by the year 2002.

I can understand Congress wanting to ensure trust fund solvency, but Congress clearly wants to take more than is necessary right now.

Moreover, some members of Congress are proposing an arbitrary spending cap for the Medicare program. How would such a cap work?

Will we still get the health care we need?

Will it cost us more out of our own pockets?

Can we still expect quality care?

And why isn't Congress focused on holding down all health costs, so health care could be more affordable for everyone?

I've heard the average beneficiary could expect to see their out-of-pocket costs for health care increase by $3,400 over the next seven years.

That may not sound like a lot, but for many older Americans, $3,400 in unexpected expenses we haven't planned for could be devastating.

I'm willing to pay my fair share, but the Medicare cuts Congress has proposed will make access to health care much more difficult for most older Americans, and that's a shame.

I understand the need to reform Medicare, but I don't understand why Congress wants to cut the program so deeply and quickly without first carefully considering the personal and economic impact such actions may have.

dna D. Butcher


What's the line?

In your July 12 editorial concerning the suspension of University of Maryland athletes for gambling, The Sun strongly criticized the athletic director and university for criticizing the sanctions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

I think The Baltimore Sun should take a first step and make a strong statement regarding the gambling problem by eliminating all betting lines from the paper, just as you made a positive move in removing gun sales from the paper.

Anthony Deares


Thanks, firemen

On a recent trip from my home in Slidell, La., to Baltimore to attend a birthday party and family get-together, I had an unbelievable experience.

About to depart from Baltimore (at Pennington and Patapsco avenues in the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay area), I had a flat tire. My wife, her 97-year-old mother and I were heading for Rising Sun, Md., for the celebration.

I had never had to change a tire on my 1993 Aerostar, which stows the small spare tire beneath the back floor. It was hot and I was stunned, to say the least.

While I pondered my action, it happened. A beautiful yellow fire engine came along and stopped.

I thought I was about to be reamed out for parking where I had stopped. No; five firemen surveyed my problem and went to work. In no time, they had me on my way again. I could not believe my good fortune.

I did not get the number of the fire truck, but these men will know who they are; this was on Father's Day.

My everlasting thanks to these men of character, for going "over and above the call of duty."

ou Muehlberger

Slidell, La.

Unsung heroes

I had the heart-breaking experience recently of saying goodbye to my closest friend, a little stray dog I found on my lawn 14 years ago.

I had planned to adopt another dog that needed a home, so I visited four Baltimore County shelters and two Baltimore City shelters. I found Dolly at the Baltimore City Municipal Animal Shelter.

Baltimore City gets a lot of criticism, especially from Baltimore County residents (of whom I am one) who often never visit the city except to take in the tourist attractions. But the city can be proud of its animal care.

The staff who run the shelter should be commended by Mayor Kurt Schmoke for providing the cleanest, most efficient and most caring of all the places I visited.

The front office personnel, the custodial staff, the "vet-techs" and the caretakers who deal directly with the "tenants" were uniformly helpful and totally committed to finding homes where the adoptees would be loved and well cared for.

So hats off to the often unsung heroes who give their time and affection to potential animal friends.

Jean C. Sisk


Comcast captive

On July 7, my family returned to our home in Baltimore County from a two-week vacation. Our cable television reception was noted to be very poor, and we requested repair service from Comcast.

Four days later, a technician came to the house and was unable to make the necessary repairs because he lacked the proper equipment and needed to enter our home when nobody was home.

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