Column: Grumpy old men and Medicare
Whenever grumpy old men gather, most of the world’s problems get resolved. Now if we could just get Congress and President Barack Obama to listen to us, everything would go right in the world. Without much attention to our musings, we do continue to discuss and offer many, many solutions to the world’s problems.
Topics vary at each meeting, but we always get around to absolutes, and the other day we were discussing what was the most important law passed since the nation’s inception. That caused many to mention the laws that were their favorite.
Of course, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the forming of the U.S. Constitution were right up there as the favorite. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was another. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 brought out some lengthy discussion.
Our group are all of Social Security age and that act alone brought about some great interest.
To most of us grumpy old men, the most significant legislation during our own lifetime has been Medicare. To many of us, it was the best law devised in our lifetime.
This enactment brought dignity and worthiness to all senior citizens regardless of age, race, financial state, omitting no one. It was the most fair, far-reaching law devised in this past century.
Now, that statement must be tempered by the fact that we are old men. We are the recipients of Medicare and we love it. We love everything about it. Not only for ourselves, but for the millions who could not afford any type of health care coverage — this is just right for millions of those older than 65.
Passing this bill to help out everyone age 65 and older has been the equalizer of society.
I am sure there are those who will not agree that the passing of the Medicare law was the engine behind making life for the elderly and not-too-well-off so much more equalizing and just made life for them so much easier.
Youngsters will not be able to grasp the significance of this monumental legislation because they are bound to payroll deductions during their earning years. But trust us old folks, it is worth every penny you contribute and then some. It is one of those special acts that brings back to the donor much more than they will ever contribute.
Now, it must be said that this very special act of great compassion and wisdom on the part of our nation’s lawmakers is still being abused by those in power because they insist on calling Medicare an entitlement — and that is just plain wrong. We all bought that service with many, many years of contributing to the fund, and it is our rightful act to receive its benefits without feeling we are receiving handouts or we are not entitled to such a wonderful service.
The well-being of so many seniors is such a wonderful and natural benefit and makes aging much more bearable. Without this amazing benefit, we would all be in dire need of financial help and die much sooner.
Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column publishes Mondays.