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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Wealthiest nation must prioritize health care for all

Although Donald Trump summoned a cult of made for television faces to applaud while he gave an uninspired stump speech in West Virginia, the fact of the matter is this - many Mountain State people oppose his Trumponian policies, particularly about health care.

Here is another "echo" re-posted letter to the editor, printed in the August 5, 2017, Charleston West Virginia Gazette Mail (a Pulitzer winning newspaper), published by the editor.
A CPA wrote to the editor about how one company where she worked put the money saved by implementing a new employee benefits plan into a CEO fund- "golden parachutes", money from the employees who contributed and never got their investments back.

Congress must repair and keep the ACA

I am a CPA with 30-plus years of experience, including benefits administration. I understand the nuances of the health care debate and the reasons why medical benefits have been systematically eliminated by employers over the past 20 years. I am appalled that our elected leaders refuse to address health insurance inequality.

I became passionate about this subject in the 1990s. I worked at a Michigan utility company when health insurance premiums began rising dramatically. 

My company chose to revamp the employee benefits package, resulting in cuts to our pension and medical benefits. 

Retiree medical benefits were eliminated. Six months after the new benefit package was rolled out to more than 3,000 employees, the $3 million annual cost savings was used to implement a Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan for the 10 top executives. Sound familiar? This trend has been going on for years. It did NOT begin with the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Prior to the passage of the ACA, our eldest and unmarried daughter was denied coverage due to a suspicious pap smear. She could become eligible for Medicaid if she got pregnant. Really? We all know someone who has been denied coverage.

Why is our country the only developed nation that doesn’t acknowledge health care to be a basic human right? How can we live in the richest country in the world and not care about everyone’s health? Why do we allow legislators to concoct draconian health care bills behind closed doors? Why aren’t the legislators subject to the same reduction in benefits as the people they “represent”?

Congress must include diverse opinions and hold public hearings before they implement significant legislation. They must hold town hall meetings and listen to their constituents who reject both the House and Senate health care bills. Please, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, now!

Susan Shirkey, Bradenton, Fla.

In fact, MedicareForAll would allow for the current law governing this benefit to expand coverage for everyone who qualifies, becasue working people who receive salaries and their employers contribute to this dedicated fund. It's time for all who contribute to have access to the coverage.

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