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Gresham dentist Michael McKeel opposes extending Medicare coverage to every American, saying the costs to taxpayers would be staggering.

With the recent clamor to lay bare the true cost of "Medicare for All" were it to become a reality, I am compelled to throw out some hard facts of what Medicare costs a Medicare recipient right now, what it covers, what it does not cover, and some quirky things that have had not a damn word of discussion.

Let me give you my background. I am a practicing dentist who receives Medicare supplement and advantage plan payments from insurance companies. I am a consumer and a Medicare recipient along with my wife. I also served on the board of a health insurance company for over 20 years and was chairman of the company for three years. I also was chair of the company's compliance committee. That's three distinct perspectives all dealing with Medicare....a payer, a payee, and a consumer who pays the exact same as everybody else.

Because I am still practicing with an income, Medicare kicks in a maximum "means test" that makes my cost for Part B $470 per month for myself and the same for my wife. That's $940 per month. Then, because Medicare does not cover every cost, especially drug costs with Part D, I feel obligated to buy a Medicare supplement. Because my wife was a county employee, we take the PERS supplement. That is $390 per month each, and together it is $780. So adding $780+$940 gives our monthly cost at $1740. If you had kids just add that to the bill as well that would increase your cost even more.

So if the thought is to give the same Medicare benefit to all as we have it now, then working people would have the "means test" applied and they would need a supplement or advantage add-on to get the same coverage they might get from an employer. If it would be offered for free the cost would be...well let's just say God help us all!

Michael McKeel

Gresham


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