To the Journal editor:
On behalf of the registered nurses, members of the Michigan Nurses Association, across the Upper Peninsula, I am very concerned that anyone would be allowed to throw accusations around in the press.
I see patients every day, which rely on Medicare for their medications, tests and treatment they need every day to stay alive.
The reason nurses across the Upper Peninsula are speaking out is that our congressman, U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, voted to end Medicare (HCR 34, House vote 277) and make seniors pay more. For nearly 50 years, the government's Medicare program has provided economic and health security for seniors by providing a guaranteed level of benefits.
Mr. Benishek voted instead to give seniors vouchers in various amounts- none of which will keep up with the growing costs of health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This would make them hand money over to private insurance companies. You can call it whatever you want but it is no longer Medicare.
Nurses who advocate for their patients everyday know that people simply can't afford that. They will not get the care they need. Our seniors do not deserve to suffer. They need to have dignity in retirement and health care.
As, a physician, Rep. Benishek knows exactly how important access to health care is. Yet he voted to end Medicare, protect his own health care and give millionaires more tax breaks.
This country has been forged and protected by those who are now on Medicare. We should be working on how to sustain this important benefit for all now and in the future not take it away.
That is why nurses will continue to call him out and take him to task.
Carolyn Hietamaki, RN