11-07 Letters to the Editor

Last time I wrote a letter about Social Security. This is part two and it is my findings on our Medicare System.
Presently, one becomes eligible for Medicare at age 65. This should read a U.S. citizen becomes eligible for Medicare at age 65 but I am not sure this is true. In my husband’s case, he was employed and chose to wait until age 66 to go on Medicare. He paid $96 per month for this Medicare insurance (2009). Private, comparable insurance at the time was about $400 per month; therefore, Medicare was saving him approx $300 per month, or was it?
Reviewing the amount of total Medicare Tax that was withheld from my husband’s paycheck in 48 years, I have calculated that at $300 per month it will take my husband to age 85 before the government is paying any of his Medicare premium. This is a tax taken from his wages and income tax was paid on this Medicare Tax withheld. This is not an “entitlement” or a “benefit” being handed out to him.
Keep in mind that Medicare is NOT 100% inclusive. One still needs a Medicare supplement, Medigap or Medicare Advantage Plan AND a Part D prescription drug plan to pick up where Medicare doesn’t cover. At the present time, it is costing about $200 per month for health coverage. Also, Medicare is a choice, one may never go on Medicare but opt to pay for his own medical insurance and long-term care insurance.
AGAIN, the employer’s contribution to Medicare (the employer match) can be used for administration, survivor’s Medicare and Medicare for disabled workers. And there should be interest earned.
The monies contributed for Medicare and withheld on workers needs to be kept in a separate trust fund AND, only used for Medicare benefits. The system is working and should not be running low on funds. There should be no “presumptive eligibility” or Medicaid coming out of the Medicare Trust Fund. Regardless of who wins the election, Obamacare or some other national health care should not be allowed to tap Medicare funds to the tune of $716 million. This is wrong!
It has also been reported that there is fraud in the Medicare system. In fact, in Wisconsin in 2012, they are asking for SMP volunteers. That is Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers to monitor and review medical claims of fraud in the Medicare system. The entire claim processing could be made more efficient and less costly.
I would think that the medical claims process could be made simpler and more straight forward; and, thus more difficult to cheat. Also, a physician’s office call should cover a patient’s entire health not just for one health concern. I have firsthand experience with this.
Medicare should not be used in the same sentence with “Medicaid”!!! Medicare is provided by “our” wage earners’ contributions and a cost of approximately $100 a month when a person turns 65 and opts to go on Medicare. Medicaid is a “free” handout to those who do not have Medicare or Medicare does not cover. Nursing home residents who have exhausted their assets have their care paid by Medicaid supplements. Whatever benefits Medicaid chooses to give patients should be determined by the government, both federal and state, and processed entirely by a different department. And why call it “Medicaid”? To confuse us, to make us think it doesn’t matter if we have paid in, to help the free loaders. Why not change the name to lower income health care? Or come up with some abbreviation like GPMC (government provided medical care)?
Leona Vander Sanden

Congratulations to the Merrill High School Volleyball team on their excellent season, including qualifying for the STATE TOURNAMENT! We would like to thank the community for their support of the volleyball team!
A special thanks to the Merrill High School staff; especially Athletic Director Mr. Bonnell and administrators Mr. Murray, Mr. Soderberg and Mr. Engh. Teacher Mrs. Wardall proved to be an important liaison between players, parents, high school staff and students!
Volleyball coaches Mrs. Nelson and Ms. Kreimsreiter are to be commended for their countless hours of dedication and devotion to the volleyball team. Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer, Anthony Gerlach and Paula Soderberg have been valuable in injury prevention and recovery. We also thank Wendorf busing for safely transporting our volleyball players to and from their matches all season!
Our student body proved to be the BEST fans of the state tournament! Thanks for your creativity, energy and enthusiasm all season!
Merrill Volleyball Booster Club

Dear Editor,
Starting Jan 1, Council Grounds, as well as the rest of the state parks in Wisconsin, will have a target on their door until Memorial Day when the “Danger, enter at your own risk” sign will be replaced with the well-worn “Welcome” sign. Walkers, runners, bikers, skiers, snowshoers, families pulling their children on sleds, birders, and dog-walkers as well as people in nearby homes and the adjacent MARC, will be sharing a park smaller than a square mile with hunters eight months out of the year. A bullet can travel more than a mile. A house in Rib Mt. already has a bullet hole in their window this year.
Unless the public can convince the DNR before the deadline of Nov. 23rd that it poses a threat to the safety of all park users and the neighboring community, this Sporting Heritage Law , signed into law by Gov. Walker without the input of the Natural Resource Board or the public, will potentially lead to tragic accidents. There are currently six million acres in Wisconsin open to the public for hunting without using the state parks where use is popular year round.
Contact your state representative or the DNR (
Help repeal this dangerous law.
Rita Wiechman

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