A recent letter by a Medicare recipient, J. Ronald Gainsford, ("Health Care Is Fine" July 27), is one of several letters by Medicare beneficiaries who have had happy outcomes from major surgery, are happy with their Medicare or Medicare Advantage coverage and disfavor what they regard as "socialized medicine."
They do not realize that the Medicare that paid most of their bills is one example of socialized medicine.
Mr. Gainsford reports that he paid about $2,000 per year for his insurance; the government, through Medicare, paid about five times that much for him to his insurance company. In all likelihood many of the seniors who join Medicare Advantage plans either do not realize or do not remember that they signed away their (government-paid) Medicare benefits to their insurance company.
Persons needing a heart replacement before joining Medicare, and who are not covered by an employer, may well face a bill in the range of $50,000. Persons with a previous history of heart trouble and seeking health insurance as an individual, are not likely to find it at any price.
Ours is one of the few advanced countries in which persons who are used to paying their bills can be driven to poverty by a catastrophic illness.
Seniors, like me, who are enjoying the benefits of one form of socialized medicine should understand why millions of others need and feel that they deserve the same kind of protection.