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Health Coverage for ‘Near-Elderly’

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Your June 1 article on the fact that many people between age 55 and 64 do not have and cannot get health insurance is just one more example of the disgraceful state of the health-care system in our country. Those who have been the victims of involuntary “early retirement” are finding their health-care coverage gone, and no private plan that will take them, even if they could afford it on reduced incomes--or any income at all.

The attitude of those who opposed the national health-care initiative proposed by President Clinton really was, “Don’t get sick. If you do, you deserve to be destitute, and so do your spouses and other dependents.”

To say we can’t afford it is nonsense. What we can’t afford is farm subsidies that go almost entirely to large agribusiness, and to growers of tobacco. Nor can we go on subsidizing need in other countries while we kick those in need in our own country viciously aside.

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The folks who defeated national health insurance were badly hoodwinked by vested interests in business, die-hard elements in the American Medical Assn. and by health insurance companies that take 30% of the health-care dollar as administrative costs. These interests simply don’t want to lose the excess billions of dollars they make each year off all of us.

What does it take to restore human decency to government policy?

KAYE KLEM

Mission Viejo

* Why is it that Medicare is projected to go bankrupt shortly after the turn of the century when there are seemingly inexhaustible funds in place for SSI recipients, of whom some have never paid a nickel into the system? In the meantime, uninsured Americans, between the ages of 55 and 64, have to become destitute to qualify for Medicare. What a national disgrace.

HANS J. PLICKERT

Downey

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