Bonnie Henry: Granny, Gramps want security for their kids, too

2012-08-26T00:00:00Z 2014-07-01T16:55:08Z Bonnie Henry: Granny, Gramps want security for their kids, tooBonnie Henry Special to The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Timing is everything. As the first swell of what has now become a tsunami of retiring baby boomers, we've enjoyed the benefits of Medicare for a couple of years now.

Far as we're concerned, it's lived up to its favorable hype - though we've been lucky enough not to have to test it for anything major. A couple of exams a year, flu shots, a biopsy and an MRI that turned up nothing. That's it.

We pay through deductions from our Social Security checks. We also pay for supplemental insurance to cover the 20 percent Medicare won't pay for. Plus, we pay for a prescription plan to cover our blood pressure and high-cholesterol meds, as well as to guard against the stratospheric costs of some other drugs, should we at some time need them.

All in all, that amounts to several hundred bucks a month out of our pockets, so no, I don't consider it all as entitlement. On the other hand, we can sleep at night knowing if some catastrophic illness befalls us, we will be covered.

Would that our kids and grandkids be so lucky.

Right now, Medicare in its present form has become the punching bag of the right, the endangered darling of the left. Neither side is right.

Any thinking person knows that Medicare, as it stands now, is unsustainable. The devil, of course, is in the details about what to do about it.

The Republicans under the Paul Ryan plan think they have the answer: Keep it the same for seniors and those currently on Medicare, but replace it with a voucher for everyone under age 55.

Not even the most jihadist of right-wingers would propose the voucher program for seniors already on Medicare or close to it. Instead, they coo that the program won't touch them at all. You're safe, Gramps.

Don't they realize that Granny and Gramps have kids and grandkids, too? And that contrary to the image of the "Greedy Geezer," most of them want their loved ones who follow them to have the same financial security they've enjoyed?

If that were not the case, half the lawyers who specialize in wills and trusts would be out of work.

So I take umbrage at those who assume all you have to do is coddle those of us born before 1958 and we won't give a damn about the younger generation. Or offer to also do a little sacrificing.

I'd gladly pay more for my coverage, as well as start making co-payments at the doctor's office. While this may come off as hollow since it didn't apply to me, we also should start looking at increasing the age for Medicare coverage, as well as for Social Security - say 67 for both. And no more early Social Security starting at age 62.

Both my adult children work hard for their money. Both pay into Social Security and Medicare - never mind whether those programs will be there for them. Neither has a pension plan and probably never will.

If they're lucky enough to have parents who die before sucking up every bit of their savings in nursing home costs, that inheritance will be passed along to them. But it won't be nearly enough to compensate for what Social Security and Medicare would mean to them when they, too, become seniors.

C'mon, politicians. Do what's right - and fair - for all concerned. Otherwise it won't be Granny who gets tossed off the cliff in that TV ad. It will be her children and grandchildren.

Bonnie Henry's column runs every other Sunday. Contact her at Bonniehenryaz@gmail.com

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