Paying a penalty for success
Medicare for the senior citizens is purportedly to be an entitlement that most of the recipients have paid their FUTA taxes since its inception. However, if a senior has been financially successful, Medicare takes funds from your Social Security - the amount of which depends upon your taxable income. Thus, Medicare takes $463 a month out of the wife's and my Social Security check for Plan B and D. A supplemental plan costs $468 per month each. Therefore we each pay $931.02 per month for health insurance even though on Medicare. And it doesn't stop there.
We paid taxes on the money paid into Social Security since both were 16 years of age. We continue to have earned income paying Social Security. Again, we are penalized for being successful by the government requiring us to pay income tax at our ordinary rate on 85 percent of the gross Social Security amount each of us receive. The net result is that the net amount of our Social Security we receive is just over 57 percent of the gross amount. Social Security is something that was expropriated from us for about 65 years, poorly invested by the government trustee so that the investment was used up, earning little if any return. The amount of money that we have paid into the Social Security fund if we would have invested the funds would now be paying us five figures a month in some tax-free income, dividends and other interest. It seems as if our government is in the business of penalizing the successful.
Alfred Kreps, Colorado Springs
In defense of Britain's NHS
I have been trying all day not to write this letter, as it will probably upset people and won't change anything. But, after reading a recent editorial in the paper, I felt I had to explain a few things. The National Health Service (NHS) was brought in - as you say - 65 years ago, by a Labour government. Those on the left were overjoyed, whilst my ultra conservative father was predicting dire consequences. I was a 22-year-old in the British Navy, where any health problems were taken care of, and, anyway, at that age I had other things on my mind. Fast forward two or three years. Hey! It worked - and father stopped muttering.
Feel ill - "the doctor is in." Too ill - doctor will come and see you. Have a baby - go to the hospital. My own daughter had a serious operation at 3 days old - it was just done. Lose your job? Still have health benefits. Don't sit on the couch wondering if you can afford to go to the doctor. The most expensive medications are available. And, this perhaps would not go down well with people here, but when you have had a baby, along comes a nice lady who has a cup of tea with you and makes sure everything is going OK. And when you are very, very old, here comes a lady (probably not the same one) who also has a nice cup of tea and cuts obstinate toe nails.
Now to the bad part. Taxes are high. Hospitals and clinics in London are crowded. No-one could have foreseen the influx of masses of legal and nonlegal immigrants (who still get care). No heroic measures will be taken to save the life of a very elderly person - they will just be made comfortable. Although my mother was in the hospital at 97 and was treated with dignity, respect and affection. There is no coverage for nursing homes. I don't doubt that the horror stories in your article were true, but they were rare enough to attract the attention of the media.
I don't know of anyone in Britain who would be willing to give up their "free" medical care - in spite of the somewhat sparse waiting rooms without plush furniture, large flower arrangements and artwork. And just ask Norway, and Sweden, and New Zealand, etc. how they feel about their "National Health." They don't have insurance companies in the mix, either.
Josselyn Smith, Colorado Springs
Never before been so ashamed
My hero, Doug Lamborn. He voted to continue the government shutdown and to destroy the credit worthiness of the United States. No wonder Joel Hefley previously stated to the Gazette, " . Doug is either ignorant or he's dishonest."
"I thought, 'what a knucklehead.'?"
"We know, and it's documented, that Doug is very casual with the truth . and I don't like that," Hefley said.
Forty-six years a registered Republican, and I've never before been so ashamed of my party. Can we find a real leader to replace Doug? Someone who serves the United States of America rather than just feeding at the public trough?
Donald Holliday, Colorado Springs
When will they ever learn?
The shutdown of the government that was brought on by extremist congressional Republicans is estimated to cost taxpayers over $20 billion. I thought Republicans were concerned about the budget deficit.
This is money that could have been used to help homeless veterans, handicapped persons, needy children, destitute elderly and others who have been ravaged by the Great Recession. But Republicans would rather deprive Americans of essential services because of their hatred for President Obama than do the job for which they were elected, namely pass laws for the good of the country.
We can expect to go through this same fiasco again in a few months. In the words of Pete Seeger, "When will they ever learn?"
David J. Baker, Colorado Springs