Dear Mr. Trump: Protect Medicare & Social Security on Inaugural Speech

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Dear Mr. Trump:

The petitioners come from a wide spectrum of national politics and do not necessarily coincide on many subjects. Yet, they do agree on certain issues, in many instances, beyond their party’s platform. To us, it is important that the President delivers on his campaign promises regarding issues in which we perceive massive popular support. The first of our "Dear Mr. Trump" letters is regarding the protection of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

During the campaign, you promised to absolutely protect Medicare, and we hope you will. As recently as this year (2016) you said on MSNBC: “I think abolishing Medicare, I don't think you're going to get away with that one. And it's actually a program that's worked. So, it's a program that some people love, actually.”

Both in your speeches and books you have forcefully defended Social Security as a program to which people are entitled because they paid into it and that their income should not be affected when dealing forcefully with fraud and in the administration of the trust that funds it.

Yet, Speaker Paul Ryan has reiterated that he will substitute a system that is working well with a voucher system to be used to purchase private insurance. On the other hand, we can’t see how the person you consider to head the Department of Health, Rep. Tom Price, can articulate your defense of Medicare and Social Security when he is one of its main detractors. With all due respect, Mr. President, this designation raises questions about the sincerity of your campaign promise.

A voucher system would leave unprotected, those who are mostly in need of coverage at an age when most see their income decline. The people who are now on Medicare are the ones who made America great. You did right in reassuring them during the campaign and it is now paramount to fulfill your campaign promises. Medicare, as is, provides the protection our elders need and should not be compromised

The petitioners take a responsible approach to this issue. We are aware that the program works extremely well but that medical costs are rising and something must be done to deal with it.

Costs of Medicare are rising, but at half the rate as private insurers. The implication is that privatization is not the way to go since we pay more for less. What we need is to contain its cost. We suggest the following:

Allow Medicare to have the same negotiating faculties for drug purchases that Medicaid has. The only reason why it can’t is to protect Big Pharma. If purchasing by both programs is consolidated, you will start reducing the cost of Medicare immediately. You wrote about The Art of the Deal. As President, you would be the buyer. What kind of a deal is that where you are not allowed to negotiate price?

In a Time magazine interview, and in the campaign trail, you condemned high drug prices. You are on solid ground to force a dramatic reduction. Big Pharma spends from 5% to 10% in research and development, yet from 25% to 40% in marketing! And to make things worse, most of the R&D is spent on “molecule manipulation”, copycat medicines, and not on innovation.

Periodic price hikes of medicines cannot be justified by the R&D costs as it was already factored in the original price. Several State Attorney Generals are coordinating actions against pharmaceutical companies that conspired to fix prices and avoid competition.

Redundant procedures must be eliminated and medical data sharing between providers enhanced. It is not unusual to witness that more than half of the personnel in a medical office is dealing with paperwork, much of it with repetitive data.

One of the reasons for the high cost of medical services is the high cost of the education of health professionals and the proliferation of specialties. Sky high tuitions and book prices force health professionals into debt that must be repaid by charging high fees for service.

You ran on an anti-establishment program and hope you don’t succumb to the pressures of establishment politicians and corporations. Protect Medicare as is.

Aware Citizens

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