Letter: Medicare can’t provide all solutions



I am not pleased to read the Oct. 25 Columbian story “Proposed settlement would broaden Medicare coverage,” about the Vermont court settlement in which Medicare will no longer be able to deny nursing/therapy to patients whose conditions will not improve. Medicare has historically not been liable for nursing home costs. Will the system now have to pay for every expense that every elderly person will eventually rack up? It is well-known that the large majority of medical expense occurs in the last six months of life. President Obama tried to rein in these costs when pushing through Obamacare; the Republicans raised Cain about “death panels.” If Medicare now is expected to pay for long-term nursing, all I can say about costs is, “Brother, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Erin Britt said the “impact would be minimal.” How so?

The lawsuit “challenged the government’s practice of denying some coverage to patients whose condition was not improving.” That covers anyone old and senile — basically, all of us who don’t die from base jumping.

A civilized society cares for the young who have dreadful, incurable illnesses. A broke society tries to provide all services for all people at all stages of life.

Ellen Putman