As a daughter, power of attorney and health care proxy for each of my parents during end of life, I have direct experience with Medicare.

Contrary to Martin Jones’ Dec. 2 Another View guest editorial, every Medicare for All supporter does not subscribe to the notion that Medicare should be free of co-pays, deductibles, etc. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan is not our only option. I support requiring premiums and co-insurance, or “skin in the game,” based on ability to pay. Choice among providers and services helps control Medicare costs.

First, current Medicare premiums are $135 a month (the 5 percent with high incomes pay more). If you have original Medicare, you also pay an annual deductible and 20 percent co-insurance with no out-of-pocket limit. An HMO-style Medicare Advantage plan has different costs and limitations. Lastly, Medicare does not cover every potential health need. Medicare does not currently cover prescription drugs or vision, hearing or dental services. Hopefully, this will change in the future.

The current “system” only lines the pockets of CEOs and employees paid to deny claims, shift costs and create as much red tape as possible for both the insured and providers. My husband and I will pay a 2019 annual health insurance premium of $16,896 – only three hours of the CEO’s annual salary.

I agree with Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich: This “system” will not last much longer. Employers are often paying these same huge premiums on behalf of their employees. We must demand a better way.

Medicare for All may not be perfect, but Medicare is proven administratively cost-effective and, best of all, the money spent actually pays for health care – not salaries and stockholder profits. Allowing those of us over 50 years of age to buy into Medicare would be a great way to transition to Medicare for All.

Sue Hawes

Portland


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