Is Harris really a Medicare savior?

August 12, 2011

Editor:

It was with a mixture of bemusement and surprise that I read Andy Harris' ad in the Aug. 3 Aegis. He is attempting to portray himself as Medicare's savior. However, I have a letter from Representative Harris dated July 18 in which he supports Representative Ryan's Voucher system for Medicaid. This would in fact decimate the program. The vouchers would pay for a diminishing portion of health insurance premiums and seniors, if they can get coverage at all, would pay increasingly higher percentages for Medicaid care. All risks would be shifted to the backs of the citizens. Most seniors would end up buying high deductible policies and going without needed medical care.

Medicare was established because many senior citizens could not get coverage under the private sector plans. We should strengthen Medicare to make sure elderly get the medical care they need, but the Voucher system is not the way to do this. The Medicare Prescription drug program is expensive since the law doesn't allow the government to use its power to negotiate drug prices lower, and the government can do for Medicaid prescriptions and for Veterans Administration programs. Allowing negotiation for drug prices is a first step in getting rapidly rising medical prices under control. Representative Harris is more concerned that drug companies continue to increase their profits than he is with the welfare of senior citizens.

Kay Saucier

Bel Air

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