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Let's take another look at the idea promoted by conservatives that Medicare is responsible for the national debt.

Prescription drugs would have cost a lot less if Congress had been more concerned with minimum expense to Medicare than with maximum profit for drug companies.

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Increases in monthly premiums for higher-income beneficiaries are negligible, and their needs are similar to everyone else's. It is possible that healthy lower-income seniors are subsidizing their care.

General fund "subsidies" are actually repayment of loans from the Medicare Trust Fund. The deficit is not caused by Medicare any more than by ordinary Americans cashing in their treasury notes.

Yes, something needs to be done about Medicare funding. But it is deceitful to blame Medicare for our increasing debt. Penalizing seniors to offset tax breaks for wealthy Americans and subsidies for corporations making record profits — and for two elective wars — is both morally and fiscally irresponsible.

Adele E. Zimmermann, Embudo, NM

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