Coalition’s plan would harm scores of low-income seniors

Americans United for Change would disproportionately harm millions of low-income seniors in its campaign to eliminate subsidies to Medicare Advantage (article, “Following Social Security push, liberal coalition tackles Medicare Advantage,” June 12).

MA plans offer more comprehensive benefits than traditional Medicare, and studies show these plans are an especially important option for low-income and minority seniors. These seniors are less likely to have supplemental retiree medical coverage, and most cannot afford to buy private Medigap policies to supplement Medicare. They are attracted to the lower costs and better benefits offered through Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage plans often cover a host of benefits that regular Medicare doesn’t cover, such as vision and dental care, added preventive services, protection against catastrophic medical costs, and prescription drug coverage at no added cost.
Medicare Advantage gives more than $1,000 a year in added health services to the average beneficiary, or $86 a month over standard Medicare coverage. This is not money that is being wasted but which is going to provide better coverage to seniors who couldn’t otherwise afford this comprehensive coverage.

Clearly Medicare Advantage plans are popular since more than 8.3 million seniors are enrolled. Why would anyone want to harm our most vulnerable seniors by taking away this option? Far from being a giveaway to insurance companies, the subsidies to Medicare Advantage create a valuable option for America’s struggling low-income seniors.

~From Grace-Marie Turner, president, Galen Institute, Alexandria, Va.

Travel policy wastes tax dollars

(Regarding article, “DoD braces for a fight with Pelosi,” June 14.) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) spokesman Nadeam Elshami says in the article: “It has been longstanding policy that, in the absence of a congressional spouse, the adult child of a member of Congress may accompany the member on official U.S. government travel abroad for protocol reasons and without reimbursing the U.S. Treasury. Speaker Pelosi believes that a modern policy must reflect the professional responsibilities or health realities that might prevent a spouse from participating, and instead permit an adult child to fulfill the protocol needs of the official trip.”

I don’t think this is right. More government waste.

If we don’t do the job, somebody else will.

~From Chuck Lewis, Shelbyville, Ill.