• The Choice: Medicare

    Jeannie is a retired Human Resources Directorfrom Santa Fe. She's worried about how the Romney/Ryan plan for Medicare and Social Security will affect her:

    "I've contributed to Medicare for 40 years. It's not an entitlement. It is an earned benefit. I paid into Medicare all those years so it would be there for me.
    "The Romney-Ryan extreme budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program. That would immediately double the health care premiums I pay now for full coverage and could burden me with large annual deductibles and co-pays. And health care costs are just going to keep increasing, especially if we turn to a voucher system and the government isn't allowed to negotiate for lower costs for seniors.
    "I’ve been insured by many private carriers, good and bad, but I have never had a plan as easy to understand and as efficient as Medicare. Their information is concise and you can talk to someone 24/7. I think that Medicare actually costs less administratively than the private sector and offers seniors a good guarantee of access to needed medical services.
    "Under the Romney/Ryan voucher plan, I don't see a guarantee that I'd have that same access to services. Even worse, without government-negotiated cost controls, health care costs could also continue to increase. That would be devastating as inflation increases the cost of things. If costs keep going up, I could eventually wind up losing my house."

    The Romney/Ryan vision for a privatized Social Security system is even more frightening to Jeannie, who knows how volatile the stock market can be.

    "In 1987, I lost 33% of my savings in Black October (but only on paper as I did not trade). In 2008, I lost a lot of money that is never coming back, including thousands of annual dividend income, forcing me to work beyond when I intended to retire.
    Social Security is all most people have, and they truly need to be able to depend on it, especially those who are at the bottom of the economic scale in income. Privatizing it has a disparate effect on lower income earners and probably minorities and women as well.
    Social Security is not an entitlement, it is an earned benefit. A society is measured by how well it takes care of its most vulnerable populations (seniors and children) – so what kind of a society are we advocating here? Americans work hard, and most of us give 120% every day.
    We need some real assurances as we age — assurances we're not going to get with the Romney/Ryan plan."

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