Deficit reduction should not hurt Medicare

October 05, 2011

Contrary to Jay Hancock's recent assertions about shared sacrifice and the federal deficit ("Fixing America needs contributions from everybody," Oct. 2), we do not oppose changes to Medicare to make it solvent, for two reasons.

First, Medicare is not insolvent; its trust fund is solvent through 2024. Second, we recognize the value of reasoned proposals, such as the delivery system reforms included in the Affordable Care Act, that address the larger problem driving Medicare spending growth: rising costs across the entire health care sector.

Recognizing that these costs are the real problem and that half of seniors have less than $22,000 in annual income, we must carefully consider deficit-reduction proposals and oppose those that find savings by simply shifting costs to people with Medicare, who are in a poor position to take on additional spending burdens.

Joe Baker, New York, N.Y.

The writer is president of the Medicare Rights Center.

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