Here’s a modest idea for Medicare reform

To the editor:

With so much division in our country, and some folks even losing faith in democratic government, I would like to offer a proposal concerning Medicare. I do this in the hope that such a proposal if implemented could help restore some faith in government.

I am calling upon the Biden Administration to lower the Medicare age of eligibility to 55.

Most of us either rely on Medicare for our own health care, having reached 65, or have a dear relation or friend who does. After our armed forces, Medicare may be the most popular part of the U.S. Federal government.

Since its adoption in 1966 it has kept millions of our senior citizens healthy and out of poverty once they qualify age 65.

But by age 55, many people have been working for 30 years or more. Many are tired, and are beginning to suffer from various chronic illnesses. Unfortunately many are under-insured, uninsured, or paying very high premiums. Some are small business owners who have tried to keep their employees insured.

We all know of folks ‘hanging on’ until they reach 65, foregoing medical care, afraid to change jobs or start a business.

Lowering the Medicare eligibility age would be a triumph of decent and potentially bipartisan politics. It could renew faith in ‘the system’ for many who feel angry, left out of the American Dream, unappreciated, and even betrayed.

How could this be paid for? By raising the $133,000 ceiling of the Medicare payroll tax.

Today, someone earning $500,000 a year pays the same total amount of Medicare tax as someone earning $133,000. By raising the ceiling, the increases in Medicare expenses will be paid for.

Businesses will also pay more as they match the Medicare contribution of their employees — recently 1.45% of payroll. This will be greatly eased by being released from paying premiums for middle-aged workers who often have the most expensive medical bills.

The anger and division in our country can perhaps be partly explained by the burden of health care insecurity and the enormous related economic challenges encountered by many families.

If you find this proposal of interest, contact Congressmen Cawthorne, McHenry and others. They need to hear from you.

Stephen Wall MD, FAAP

Waynesville

Waynesville landowners beware

To the editor:

Haywood County land owners who have Duke Energy as your electrical provider, beware! In a four-year period, Duke Energy has come onto our property three times to cut limbs or trees. Every time unannounced and even leaving behind debris.

What rights does a power company have regarding right- away?

The latest experience was hellish.

Trees were flagged during the summer of 2020. On Oct. 17, 2020 contracted tree crew, Asplundh, arrives. This may not seem like a problem, but our driveway was just paved in May. Two bucket trucks and a huge truck with the chipper are on newly paved driveway. See the problem?

Flags on two trees had been removed by the Asplundh crew. I inquired about them. Due to lack of time these trees would not be cut. I pleaded they be cut so the trucks would not have to return. The crew left without reflagging the trees.

Oct. 19, 2020, I make contact with Duke Energy and Asplundh Tree Service. Roger Matheson, with Asplundh, comes to the property. He witnesses oil spills, and tire impressions on the driveway. He shared he had been told the job had been completed.

Oc. 21, 2020 I speak with a Duke Representative, Mr. Roy Smith.

Oct. 23, 2020, work crew returns. Trucks were forbidden to be back on the driveway. So what’s the problem?

Attitudes, limbs hitting moist ground, wanting to drag limbs down the driveway, and I argue for them to respect the property. Wind picks up and in order to get the job done safely, I sign a hand written wavier to allow one truck to reenter the property.

Damage is evident in the driveway, again. Crew must return the next day. Seven men 2.5 days to cut four trees, and chip the limbs. What is that costing Duke Energy customers?

Roger Matheson (w/Asplundh) and Roy Smith (w/Duke) were both contacted on Oct. 26 with driveway concerns. Matheson dismissed concerns. Smith was to inspect the driveway. Jan. 28, 2021, still no Mr. Smith.

What are our rights as property owners?

Connie Allen

Waynesville

Soviet Socialist States of America

To the editor:

Finally! Donald Trump will join a herd of ex-presidents in private life.

The difference is, Trump is a billionaire and they are not, despite their constant hustling of ghost-written books, each of which is a masterpiece of self-aggrandizing drivel.

The has-beens publish books that suckers buy but never read. And no matter how many boring stories are concocted for B. H. Obama, that little man will remain forever frustrated and resentful over the fact that he will never be as rich as the white guy, Donald Trump.

Now that Democrats have a chokehold on power, things can get back to normal. The graft and the selling out of the nation can resume unchecked.

The swamp creatures in our diseased seat of government will greedily support their man in his groveling at the smelly feet of a dictator; and the swampers will jealously applaud as he cashes in with his son in anti-American deals in China, a country whose leaders intend that it become the solitary economic and military power.

Killing people with germs was only the beginning.

Joe Biden denied any knowledge of his druggie son’s dealings with the Communists. His lie goes unnoted by the blind eyes and deaf ears of the laughable mainstream media and the goons in Silicon Valley. Could the future be any more bleak for the middle class?

Democrats are racing to achieve their goals: more poverty; more slums; more peasant immigrants who don’t speak English but can be told how to vote; more gangs; more dead children in Democrat ghettos; more illiteracy; more dependence; and more ignorance.

But don’t think for a second that they are alone. The swamp brims with Republicans; and conservatives really should determine which three or four Republicans actually give a damn about America. May those be re-elected, and the rest sent packing.

Patriots are here reminded that in a Polish village in the 1940’s a Nazi army officer had the political and civic leaders lined up in front of a firing squad. “But,” the mayor protested, “we have done nothing.” And the Nazi replied, “Precisely.”

Scott Muirhead

Waynesville

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