Letter to the Editor

Trading pension for health care

Monday, October 15, 2007

To the editor: Social Security is considered sacred by a majority of citizens from both parties because people from all classes and backgrounds pay into the program and expect to get something back upon retirement or becoming disabled. It is not considered welfare, but rather a pension and insurance program. We pay into the system with the expectation that, at the least, we will have a very basic safety net when we retire or become disabled. Unfortunately in Missouri, that safety net is broken.

The Republican legislature and Gov. Matt Blunt advocated deep cuts to Medicaid that forces people with disabilities who receive SSDI to pay higher premiums in order to keep Medicaid. People who live on SSDI are required to live at 15 percent below the poverty level, which means a person who becomes disabled would only have $724 to take care of himself and his family. With all the medical expenses not covered by Medicaid, people do not have enough money to live on. What makes this situation more tragic is that this is earned money from an insurance program, not welfare.

We need to re-establish a basic safety net that allows people to keep the money they have earned and help those who have become disabled. The chances are three out of 10 that someone could become disabled sometime in their working life. We all benefit from helping the unfortunate, because tomorrow we may be the ones that need the help.

BOB PUND, Columbia, Mo.