I have been listening to the news anchors since Rep. Paul Ryan has unveiled his ideas for cutting the budget by cutting into Medicare and Social Security. The argument starts with the generic phrasing of “entitlement programs“. So I have to ask, what exactly does that mean? The Webster dictionary has “entitlement” as a noun meaning giving the person a “right” to something, in this case a minimally adequate wage guarantee and medical insurance that covers 80% of limited services. The verb entitle means to give “a person the right to lay claim” to something. In this case, a minimal wage and health insurance.
I have been working at one job or another since I was 16 years old. Stopping at 48 years old wasn’t in my life plan, but thank goodness for the government’s foresight and making me pay the insurance known as Social Security and Medicare. Now that I need it, I am glad I paid for it. That is the rub for me! I paid for it! Perhaps Title 19, or heating programs could be considered an entitlement program. But my insurance program that the Federal Government helped with?
When I was 20 I didn’t think about getting life threatening illnesses, nor did I think about them at age 30. When I was 40 and had a heart attack due to Lupus, I still didn’t think I would need anything but the retirement plan I was paying into each month. No Social Security and Medicare for me! Not until the last time I nearly died. That is the one that made me re-evaluate my plans and change my mind.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Without my SSD and my Medicare, I would be living on the streets. It’s that simple. I worked for almost 20 years as a nurse and loved every minute of it. In actual fact, I loved it so much that I tried to give up my SSD and go back to work 3 times, nearly killing myself each time. My ability to fight infections was gone and each time I got sick, I got deathly ill. So I absolutely HAD to stop working. That not only broke my heart, it destroyed my finances.
Still, I paid into Social Security and Medicare taxes my whole life. as did millions before me and after me. While we think that we are planning for our future, there are no guarantees, and paying into the one fund that does ensure a minimalist future is better than no fund at all. Representative Ryan believes that using vouchers for insurance will lower costs. If that were so, why were Republicans against that very same idea during the Health Care Debate of 2010?
There is one thing I am absolutely sure of. Without the backstop of Social Security and Medicare, I am not the only person who would be living on the streets and unable to secure reasonable health care. And the funding for those programs is currently secure and well within budget. So then I have to wonder, why do they want to cut the programs that serve the elderly, disabled and poor?