Social Security & Medicare Reform Nightmare

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medicare

 

OPEN LETTER

To House Speaker Paul Ryan and Other Congressmen:

I am a real person with a real story. I depend on social security disability (SSDI) and Medicare.

This year my life was impacted in a way I never imagined. I was diagnosed with cancer. Despite my having SSDI and medicare, disability income cannot support my cost of living expenses. Thus, any intention by those in Congress to reform these two very much needed programs by decreasing its benefits concerns me greatly.

Below is a table of my out-of-pocket medical expenses for the year 2016.

Month Avg. SSDI

Income

Medical Service Cost Prescription Drug Cost Income minus Medical & Drug Costs
January $1,200.00 $121.37 $20.00 $1,058.63
February $1,200.00 $215.00 $119.87 $865.13
March $1,200.00 $180.00 $47.87 $972.13
April $1,200.00 $161.37 $0.00 $1,038.63
May $1,200.00 $675.00 $0.65 $524.35
June $1,200.00 $75.00 $12.14 $1,112.86
July $1,200.00 $175.00 $51.74 $973.26
August $1,200.00 $516.59 $107.94 $575.47
September $1,200.00 $1,327.00 $35.11 -$162.11
October $1,200.00 $175.00 $15.40 $1,009.60
November $1,200.00 $471.56 $99.54 $628.90
December $1,200.00 $1,185 $25.07 -$10.07
Total $14,400.00 $5,102.89 $535.33 $8,768.78

The average monthly SSDI income for a person is between $1,000.00 to $1,200.00. This is just a little above the federal poverty line. No one is getting over on social security. The federal poverty level for one person for a year is $11,880.00 for 2016.

After paying for medical and prescription drug expenses even with the help of Medicare, these costs would put the average SSDI medicare recipient significantly below the poverty line by approximately 26 percent ($8768.78)! As I get older, I think it is reasonable to expect my medical expenses and prescription drug costs will increase if for no other reason than rising medical and prescription drug costs let alone additional health problems due to aging. This creates a spiraling downward and devastating poverty cycle! Since you all will decide how your proposed changes will affect me given my economic situation and expenses, I need to know before those changes are implemented. With things as they stand now, the average SSDI recipient is already behind the black ball if his medical and drug expenses are similar to mine. Will your proposed changes make it worse? Also, only providing medical insurance premium payment support requires the disabled and retired person to spend an even greater percentage of his income on medical expenses leaving funds for other necessities lacking.

With a modest rental unit costing $300.00 which is a great bargain in today’s market if you can find it although it would only provide the bare minimum needed for an acceptable dwelling, but likely in a high crime area. The yearly cost would take an additional $3,600 leaving the average SSDI recipient with just $6,152.00 to spend for all remaining necessities for 12 months. Dividing the remaining $6,152.00 by 12 months gives approximately $512 a month left over. Is this a reasonable amount of money to have for remaining necessities? Yet, am I to understand that your proposed changes will make it even more difficult for me to provide for my remaining necessities like food, clothing, electricity, phone, etc for 12 months? There is not enough charity in the world to meet all the needs of the disabled and the elderly even with current government help so it is unreasonable to expect charity to step in and fill the gap.

It is a good thing to cut out fraud in the system. However, you must hold your gatekeepers, the lawyers and doctors, accountable for any fraud. You want to spend 22 million on setting up an investigation unit for this purpose. As long as this 22 million does not reduce the SSDI income of recipients and restricts fraud investigations to the processing of applications for social security disability, then I am okay with this. However, 22 million can provide 12 months of disability insurance at $1,200.00 per month to over 1520 people!

If it’s your personal opinion that someone with a bad back should still be able to do some kind of work, then meet with those who can provide an expert and professional opinion to find out first and then see if changes need to be made. You do not have a right to make changes just because you personally don’t like it.

The trustees in their reports have stated that social security and medicare can be maintained at current levels through 2075 if there are certain tax increases and borrowing of funds that can be done without interest. The American public has already indicated this is a more acceptable option than making any cuts to social security and medicare. You have an obligation to represent the interests of the people, not your personal interests. Your personal opinion counts just as theirs, but your personal opinion is not and cannot be the final decision maker. You must represent the interests of the people who elected you, not the corporations. Each time you fall short of this, this shows your lack of integrity, lack of genuine concern for the needs of the people, and your lack of reliability.

You will never have to go on social security or get medicare. You are well provided for given your “service” to the people even once you leave office. So, even though this may not affect you, put your yourself in the shoes of a person whom it will affect and please act accordingly.

Respectfully submitted,

A Social Security Disability and Medicare recipient

© 2014-2017 Gina McGill All rights reserved

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