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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Medicare and Social Security are sustainable

By Harry R. Weitkemper
February 23, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

The Columbia Missourian printed on the opinion page on Feb. 16 an article that said copyright The Kansas City Star. The third paragraph states: "But, once again, the president has failed the American people by refusing to tread into Social Security reform, and by offering only token reform in Medicare. They are the largest and fastest growing drivers of our national debt."

Social Security and Medicare are governed by a government committee overseen by Congress and the president. The committee makes recommendations and Congress chooses what it thinks is the best policy.

Both Medicare and Social Security are supported by premiums. Just as any other insurance, your Social Security card at the very top says "health insurance." Congress adjusts both premiums annually. It cannot and will not go broke. Services are increased and premiums are adjusted. Thirty percent of Social Security money is sent to people who are not retired.

In 1982, a meeting was held at the University of Missouri. I told them we had a cost-of-living adjustment — people are living longer (I'm 91). We needed a length-of-living adjustment; I was quoted in the Farmington newspaper with my name (my cousin called me). An adjustment for age has been adopted. Other adjustments can be added. Let higher earners pay the same rate but be charged to a higher limit.

Social Security and Medicare programs have lots of money loaned to the Treasury. Without changes we must ask the Treasury to give it back.

Treasury notes and Social Security money must be honored.

To get the facts call the local Social Security office.

Harry R. Weitkemper is a Columbia resident.