Letter to the Editor

Don't erode SocialSecurity, Medicare

Many news articles and editorials have been lumping Social Security/Medicare and Supplemental Security Income/Medicaid together as "entitlement programs." This is completely inaccurate and misleading.

SSA/Medicare is by definition an "entitlement program" because the entitled person pays toward the program each quarter that they work or run a business. At retirement, they receive what they are entitled to based on their contribution history. In other words, they paid for it and it's theirs.

SSI/Medicaid is by definition a "needs/means" program, which requires no contributions and is funded through general revenue. The beneficiaries are technically "recipients" and their eligibility is based on their level of other income and assets. If the combination is at a certain ceiling, they are ineligible. This program is often considered a form of welfare, although it's administered through SSA field offices.

These programs are mutually exclusive, but they are obviously misunderstood by Congress and the voting public. Currently, Congress is considering a "means testing" feature for SSA as well as a number of other erosive ideas. I encourage SSA/Medicare contributors to put Congress on notice: SSA/Medicare erosion is not an acceptable solution for balancing the federal budget.

Andrew Kubik


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