One of the things that comes with age is remembering how things started. Medicare started because insurance companies wouldn’t sell coverage to old people. The reason: 3 out of every 4 people over 65 have one or more chronic conditions. Going to a voucher system, which is being talked about in Congress, won’t suddenly make carriers sell good coverage to people they know will cost them.

Chronic illnesses don’t mean you’re sick, just old. The body lasts a certain length of time, and beyond that, I joke, we’re out of warranty. Things begin to break down.

Medicare now encourages us to keep well and see the doctor to nip things in the bud, which actually saves the system money. In our family my relatively healthy husband takes pills to manage half a dozen things, including side effects of other medications. I get wheeziness from time to time, although if I need inhalers the cost clobbers our budget.

That budget counts on Medicare. After all, we paid for it every year we worked. That’s the problem with a voucher system. It leaves holes that get bigger at a time of life when we can’t make up the difference. Like most retirees, we’re on a fixed income. Vouchers scare me.

Our members of Congress need to remember that Medicare started because insurance failed, and protect Maine seniors from a Medicare voucher system that threatens them with unpayable bills and deadly risk.

Kala Ladenheim


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