Letters to the Editor

Lesson learned after wallet stolen

I had my wallet stolen a couple of months ago, with my current, valid ID in it. Replacing this ID has been&


The first ID I had to replace was my bankcard, as I now needed cash. The bank manager, with whom I had a couple of prior conversations with regarding my account, told me I had to have "currently valid ID" in order to access my own money or get a new bankcard. I had with me old picture IDs, my checkbook, mail with both my mailing and residence addresses (over ten years running), and of course I could verify all the particulars they had listed in my account. I was told that under the new federal regulations, all this was useless. They were not permitted to recognize anything but a "currently valid ID," and that the manager could lose his or her job for making any exception. I began to boil. I was being locked out of my own account, unable to access my own money.

After some further argument, the manager told me to wait while they could try to find a way around this.&

A few minutes later,&

I had some cash, and was told my new bankcard would be mailed to me at my current mailing address.

For virtually any other ID replacement, I found I needed to first have a new Social Security card. So I went to the agency,&

and this time I&


my new bankcard, both state and federal copies of my birth certificate and all sorts of picture IDs, including my student ID, my prior driver's licenses&

and my old passport. I was told all of this was worthless. Can you guess what information they wanted in order to issue me a new Social Security card?

They wanted medical records or a university transcript.

Please note: When any of the above IDs expire, it becomes no longer valid for the stated purpose. As identification per se, they should certainly serve. I have not gained much weight over the years, and even my hair color hasn't changed.

The Department of Homeland Security has in fact made identity theft easier; the change is purely in the amount of invasive personal information the government can now maintain on you.

Aaron Corbet

Repeal physician


As a military retiree and your voting constituent, I urge you initiate and support any legislation that will amend or repeal Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).

As you are likely aware, the SGR will mandate a 10 percent cut in physician reimbursements on Jan. 1, 2008. Over the next nine years, the scheduled cuts would total approximately 40 percent. During the same period, physician costs are expected to increase by 20 percent.

Since 2002 when the SGR first mandated reductions in physician reimbursements, Congress has merely blocked the cuts for one year at a time, and has usually authorized a small percentage increase of reimbursements. The correct action of Congress should be to amend or repeal the SGR provision.

A recent survey by the American Medical Association of nearly 9,000 doctors shows that if the payment cut went into effect, 60 percent of doctors would limit the number of new Medicare patients they accept; approximately 70 percent would defer purchase of needed information technology in 2008; 50 percent would reduce their staff; and 14 percent would stop treating patients altogether.

As you are also likely aware, Tricare reimbursement rates are indexed as a fraction of the Medicare allowable amount. Thus these SGR cuts will impact all military retirees and their families whether they are under age 65 with basic Tricare or older than 65 with Medicare plus Tricare for Life. In far too many areas of the United States, there are already regions where no physicians accept Tricare. Based on the above dismal statistics, these regions will increase in size and number. So much for the promise of free lifetime health care for retirees and their families.

Please do everything within your power to stop the SGR-mandated cuts.

Rather than simply blocking the cuts this January, Congress should amend or repeal the SGR formula.

Bill Snell

USAF CMS (E-9) Retired

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