Medicare Part B
Re: Retired USPS workers
As a member of the federal community who served our country for years, I am concerned with an attempt to force current U.S. Postal Service retirees onto Medicare Part B, after they previously declined this coverage. While hailed as a way to improve USPS’ finances, this is nothing more than balancing the books on the backs of seniors.
Why should retirees, who spent their careers serving this nation, be forced to pay an additional $134 per month, or more, for health coverage they previously deemed unnecessary? Mandatory Medicare Part B coverage was never part of the agreement made upon employment, and it should not be forced on any postal retiree, especially retroactively.
Congress is currently attempting to fix the Postal Service’s problems by shifting costs to Medicare.
I urge our legislators to reject the current postal reform bill, H.R. 756. Retired postal workers proudly served our community and promises to them should be kept.
Some history of ‘American Promise’ for today
It would be hard not to take notice when former Republican U.S. Senator Alan Simpson said, “Money’s dominance over politics is the number one problem our nation faces.” Once I started reading and talking to people it became clear that, in one variation or another, this was basically an issue fought since our country’s beginnings.
A statement from Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist (a member for 33 years and Chief Justice from 1976-2005) reads “The 14th Amendment does not require a State to endow a business corporation with the power of political speech, for in a democracy the economic is subordinate to the political, a lesson that our ancestors learned long ago and that our descendants will undoubtedly have to relearn many years hence.”
This was written some years before the Supreme Court ruled otherwise in their Citizen’s United decision, in 2010, opening the flood gates to huge amounts of money from corporations, organizations, super PACs and Labor Unions overwhelming the political system from national elections to local legislative races. The Citizens United decision references corporations as “associations of citizens who thus should be afforded the same first amendment rights of free speech as individuals.” In fact, I would think thousands of these citizens referenced would include stockholders from foreign countries.
Having sat in on the arguments before the Supreme Court, U.S. Senator John McCain said “I could not believe how little these justices understood about the realities of political campaigns. What the Supreme Court did is a combination of arrogance, naivete and stupidity the likes of which I have never seen”,
Our founders intentionally included provisions in the Constitution to give the people a means to overturn rulings of the highest court in the land, through the process of Constitutional Amendment. And had they not done so, we could still have slavery and I, being a woman, probably could not vote.
Clearly the struggle for a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizen’s United is not a partisan issue. Recently former Democratic Wyoming Governor, Michael Sullivan, wrote, “I don’t know how pithy I should be but this is something like being in front of a stampede. If we don’t do something about it, we individuals will have no power or voice to be heard and will just get trampled.” Pulitzer prize winning Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote, “It is time to accept the historical gravity of our situation, for Americans of all political viewpoints to come together to win the 28th Amendment, and to renew U.S. democracy again.”
So, can it be done? It is a long a difficult process but, for a start, 19 states, including Montana and Colorado, have called on Congress to propose an amendment. These days in Sheridan alone over 70 volunteers are out and about with petitions to hopefully add Wyoming to the list. State Representative, Mike Madden, representing voters in both Johnson and Sheridan Counties wrote “I thought it an outrage that the Supreme Court can tell us that we can turn these elections over to whoever’s got the most money. If something is not done it will change elections forever.”
My conclusion is that even if the American (and Wyoming) Promise efforts were not to succeed, the raising of public awareness of the problems would make it well worth the battle!
Mary Ellen McWilliams
(Editor’s note: The Sheridan Press has waived the word count for this letter.)