By GENE H. McINTYRE

Any U.S. “senior” who’s been on Medicare long enough to use it, already knows how vital to saving one’s personal solvency it truly is.  What amazes is that there are actually persons elected to represent the American people in their respective districts who plan now to change Medicare so that it will increase its cost in premiums thousands of dollars per year, rendering its coverage unaffordable to many Americans who have already paid for it throughout their working lives.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan would jeopardize the current guaranteed level of Medicare coverage.  In its place would be “vouchers” or “premium supports” which seniors could try to buy from the private sector, meaning from profit seekers who are known to care little to none about ability to pay. Further, Ryan and GOP leadership in Washington, D.C. argue —on behalf of what they want to accomplish—that Medicare is “going broke.”

Meanwhile, according to a Congressional Budget Office report, Medicare’s not going broke; in fact, the CBO report discloses that Medicare’s fiscal strength has improved in recent years while the Part A trust fund is fully funded for at least another eleven years.  Then, too, immediate revenues are projected to pay 87 percent of costs, declining to 79 percent by 2040.

President Trump campaigned on a promise not to “touch” the benefits seniors have earned, saying “I am going to protect and save your Social Security and Medicare” as “you made a deal a long time ago.”  Trump has not always stood by his statements while this one, if not observed, will direly, even devastatingly, impact millions of older Americans should he take back his promise and proceed to stand with Ryan and others.

As a “Blue Dog” or conservative Democrat, I don’t know where Kurt Schrader, our 5th District Congressman, stands on Medicare.  Handy to us, Congress is on a current two-week break and he’s got an office in Salem.  If Schrader votes with the Republicans against Medicare and those members of Congress have their way, every Medicare recipient in need of medical services will soon find himself in a world of financial hurt.  Readers who want Medicare preserved as is, may want to find the time to contact Schrader.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)