Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Congress dodged the important issue

Although the article in the Feb. 9 issue of The Beachcomber (“Vashon Health Center alters landscape of senior care on Vashon”) quoted me accurately, I want to provide the rest of the story.

My wife and I previously provided The Beachcomber with copies of correspondence from the clinic and to our senators and representative. Although I hold the Vashon Health Center harmless (as quoted), I don’t hold our Congress harmless.

In our letter to Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, we wrote:

“My wife and I are on ‘Traditional Medicare’. We are very concerned that our government is abandoning us. ... Highline Medical Group (HMG), our Vashon Island medical clinic ... (has stated):

‘... If the proposed Medicare cuts go through as planned next year, we may be forced to limit the traditional Medicare patients we can accept. ... As a safeguard, we are requiring all patients who will be turning 65 and who are new to Medicare to select a Medicare Advantage plan in order to continue with their HMG health care provider.’

It is now too late to save new seniors from ... (the requirement) to use private insurance in order to use the local island clinic.

We are proponents of ‘Single Payer Healthcare.’ During the healthcare reform in congress, ... (this) ... was never on the table, even though it was supported by a majority ... (of Americans). Then the ‘Public Option’ was discarded in response to insurance corporation pressure.

... If Congress does not roll back the cut in Medicare reimbursements during the current lame duck congress, the 2011 House of Representatives will ... (probably cut) Medicare reimbursement. This will cause medical providers to stop accepting Traditional Medicare, patients will be forced to switch to Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare will be totally privatized...”

The Medicare cuts were later rescinded — too late for Vashon!

— Melvin Mackey

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