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Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:19 AM

This is an issue that has always bugged me. I've been working since I was 20 and paid who knows how much into Medicare & Social Security. I've paid 5.5% of my income into "benefits" that I won't be able to take advantage of. I won't qualify for Medicare because I happen to have a well paying job that offers a good retirement plan. I'll likely make too much money in retirement to qualify for Medicare (if it still even exists). The same goes for Social Security (if it even still exists, too). The retirement age of 65 was set when life expectancy was 62. It made sense at the time, but now it's an impractical drain of my hard earned money. I believe there should be an option to opt out. The caveat, of course, being if you don't pay into it you can't benefit from it later. I'd rather take that 5.5% and keep it.

I don't mind paying state and federal taxes because we'll always need roads, schools, etc. It's when I'm paying into a system that won't even benefit me that I have problems. This is doubly true when I see people blatantly working the public benefits system. It's one thing if you need the help.

What do you think? Should people be allowed to opt out of these programs? Or are we obligated to pay into these programs?

29 Replies to Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?

re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By amarathPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:29 AM
Is other people's money not hard earned? If so, I'd like to sign me up for that chocolate bon-bons eating gig.

Society functions because certain people subsidize certain other people. When society says, "Hey, even really poor pregnant ladies should be able to go see a doctor!", society as a whole has to pay for it. Same goes for social security. How do you expect social security or medicare could possibly work if people were allowed to opt out of it? The fact that people who make 22K/year and people who make 222K/month all have to pay into it is the only way it could possibly approach self-support. It's like insurance--if there aren't healthy people to prop the pool up, the pool goes bust.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:42 AM
^I wasn't implying that other peoples' money isn't hard earned. If it came across that way, that wasn't my intention. I've never been a fan of social programs and not just because I happen to be able to support myself. All you have to do is look up statistics on welfare & other social programs to see it doesn't actually fix anything. It just perpetuates the problem. Why pay into a system that doesn't work?

Medicare & Medicaid could, in theory, be fixed. However, there should at least be an option to opt out of social security. That definitely won't be there when I'm retirement age and that was a bunch of money down the toilet.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:43 AM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-08-18 11:46:48
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-08-18 11:47:31
First, I want to be clear that my dislike of the viewpoints I'm going to mention doesn't automatically translate into a dislike of the people that believe in them.

I'm a little ambivalent about this one, but I tend to lean towards what amarath described. I understand why people would want to opt out, but at the same time, I think having that option just contributes to the selfish, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps attitude I see among a lot of conservatives these days. From what I've seen and heard, conservatives and a lot of Republicans are increasingly adopting the idea that if you can't just "work hard enough" (like that's not a subjective idea), then suck it up because we're not responsible anyone but ourselves. I think it's a terribly self-centered, crappy attitude to have, and it disproportionately affects people in the lower class--if you're rich, of course you'll be able to help yourself out.

We're a country, a society, a big giant community. Sometimes we have to contribute to things we might not ever use--but things that benefit others--because that's how it goes in a community. You help each other out.

PinUp, I can see what you're thinking about paying into a system that doesn't really work, but I firmly believe that the way to fix a system that doesn't work is not to just stop supporting it. If you (general "you") want the systems to change, you have to put in more effort than that, you know? We don't overhaul our institutions by just dropping out of them, we overhaul them by making relatively small changes and being patient until they've become what we want them to be.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:48 AM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 11:50:38
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 11:52:40
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 11:57:46
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 12:01:05
I am a selfish pull yourself up by bootstraps , Ron Paul supporter ;)

I feel that you should be able to Opt out, but if you do, you shouldn't expect the government to bail you out if you run out of funds during retirement. I trust myself to make much better investments for my retirement then the government can.

I don't think these government programs are going to be able to sustain themselves on just tax dollars. I would rather personally take the money out, save for my own retirement, and donate to causes I see fit. I may want to donate to a charity that helps Veterans medical care, for example.

Cien, I honestly don't think that this is going to work, no matter the amount of effort you put into it. The government just can't keep raising the amount we put into these programs. They also can't print more money, as that devalues the dollar. Even if they were to raise it to 20%, I don't think that the program is going to be able to run for 40+ years ( age when I hit retirement)

You don't HAVE to be rich to support yourselves. If you take the amount of money you put into medicare+SS and buy good investments, you will be able to support yourself in the future. I am not going to go into specifics of what type of investments, but I do know of people who are "poor" but they saved every little penny and they are able to survive on that now. They didn't go on vacation, buy fancy cars, get a private education etc. You don't have to be "rich" to learn to budget your own expenses and financial future.

I also have a problem with paying for peoples medical problems that THEY chose to "do" to themselves. If you chose to smoke 5 packs a day for 20+ years, why should I have to pay for their health problems further down the line? I feel that medicaid would be able to work better, if we, as a society put more emphasis on the healthy living style. I feel that when I lived in Japan, they put a lot more social health responsibilty, because of public health care. People walked everywhere, people didn't eat very much junk food, they took better care of their health overall.

The elementary schools in Japan served healthy lunches. They had a nice mix of grains, vegetables, meat and fruits. I was truly shocked at what they served in American schools. French fries + hamburgers seemed to be the norm. I think our society is setting up children for future health failure. Spend the money you would on Medicaid and educate young children to make better choices for the future. Although there are many diseases that can not be prevented, there are quite a few where diet, +life style plays a role.

America has a society filled with people who go to the drive through for heart clogging fast foods. If we don't change the health of society as a whole, I think there are going to be WAAAAY too many sick people to take care of.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:08 PM
jazz_lover wrote:

You don't have to be "rich" to learn to budget your own expenses and financial future.

Oh no, of course you don't. What I'm saying is that rich people, by virtue of being rich, are obviously going to be able to help themselves out financially. Of course there are poor people who are very financially responsible and savvy, and have become poor through no fault of their own. But by and large, if you don't have the money to support yourself (no matter why you don't have the money), you're not going to have the money to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" (god, I wish I could stop typing that phrase).

If you chose to smoke 5 packs a day for 20+ years, why should I have to pay for their health problems further down the line?

I agree, and this is why I'm a little ambivalent about this issue. I have a very hard time seeing certain behaviors as anything but a choice, and as a result it's difficult for me to have sympathy for people who engage in those behaviors. Medicaid is a complicated, flawed system. But I don't think that that feeling of mine is a reason to just stop supporting EVERYone on Medicaid, you know? As it stands right now, I don't get to pick and choose who my money's going to, and I think it's better to support the whole thing rather than to just withdraw all support just because I take issue with one segment of the people who are receiving benefits.

America has a society filled with people who go to the drive through for heart clogging fast foods. If we don't change the health of society as a whole, I think there are going to be WAAAAY too many sick people to take care of.

Yeah, but once again, the way to fix our health and to improve our institutions is not to just withdraw from them altogether.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:18 PM
The fastest way to get your point across to a politician is to stop signing the paychecks.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out? (karma: 1)
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:45 PM
^No, the fastest and most effective way to get your point across to a politician is to stop voting for them, to pay attention to the things that are going across their desks, and to incessantly call/email/write letters when they do something you don't like. If you just stop contributing to an institution, you're not hurting the politicians--you're hurting the people who receive benefits from that institution.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:05 PM
^Because that's worked so well in the past? Writing letters doesn't do anything. They only care about the big money that funds their campaigns. Ergo, if you stop funding the politicians who support, you stop funding those programs.

Unfortunately all the old people vote and since these programs cater to the geriatric population, they're never going to die.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By CrayolaPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:06 PM
Absolutely. Like you, this has been one thing that has irked me. To the best of my knowledge, the only one's who can opt out of paying into social (in)security are priests/reverends and the like.

I live in Canada, so while I don't pay into medicaid, I certainly pay a lot into Social Security (Canadian Pension Plan) and EI. I know that I will not use either one of these services, so I feel there should be an option to opt out. Like you said, of course with the caveat that you can't collect later. Why should I let the government be in charge of my financial future. Shouldn't that be mine (and everyone elses) responsibility. Even if the pension is still around by the time I retire, I doubt I would even qualify. My dad, for example retired last year. Because he had saved a sizable retirement fund, he wasn't eligible to receive the CPP even though he paid into it for 40 some odd years. It just doesn't make sense to me.

An no. I don't think it's called selfish. It's called taking responsibility for your life and future and not leaving it in the hands of someone else.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:14 PM
Personally I would be opting out of paying in if I were in the US... I wouldn't want to be supporting those that choose not to support themselves.

I paid into employment insurance in Canada for 8 years... because the job that I currently hold I'm considered to be self employed I don't pay in at this point... but I feel I should have gotten benefits from what I paid in in the past.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:17 PM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-08-18 13:19:13
PinUpGirl wrote:

Writing letters doesn't do anything.

Well, now you're just being cynical; that's not really productive.

Ergo, if you stop funding the politicians who support, you stop funding those programs.

Maybe, but you don't stop funding politicians by pulling your money out of government programs. How does that stop funding politicians? Politicians don't get paid by Medicare or Medicaid, or Social Security. They get paid by the government, not those specific government programs. I just don't understand how you think withdrawing from Social Security and Medicaid would stop funding politicians. All it would do is cut benefits for OTHER people. Cutting benefits for other people just because you wouldn't need those benefits is sort of the definition of a selfish act. :?
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out? (karma: 1)
By imadanseurPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:19 PM
The problem with this is that you'll be screwing your grandparents that are now benefitting from Social Security. You opting out and millions of others will bring down this house of cards quickly.

I don't have all the answers and this system needs to have a major overhaul because you are right...it's not going to be there when we need it, and none of the politicians are helping. They are sooooo out of touch with middle America. They are rich entitled people who made politics their career. That is not how the founding fathers saw this nation. (Okay I won't go down that road to rant for 2 paragraphs.)

It is frustrating to pay in for something that I most likely won't get. I wish we could balance the budget, make some cuts, and start being a more financially responsible nation. I have to do that in my own household...why can't they get it together?
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out? (karma: 5)
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:25 PM
Although there are people who abuse the system in the US, I do not think there should be an opt out option for Medicare. Even if you saved all your money and worked full time since you were 18, many still can not afford the copays and medications that are needed when they hit the age where they qualify for Medicare (MedicAID is for the poor, MediCARE for the elderly... I think some of you may be mixing those two up). I see patients come in day after day (I'm an ER nurse) with medication lists of 25 prescriptions that cost $100 each, patients with cancer who are in trials that cost $500 per dose, patient's who have been diagnosed with rare brain tumors that now need neurosurgery that will cost them upwards of $100,000 for the surgery ALONE... Thank GOD for medicare! These patients were the blue collar working class for their entire life, and when they retired they were not eligible to continue receiving their health benefits until they die. Without the government plan for the elderly, they would die or go broke trying not to die. Plain and simple.

So no, I don't think there should be an opt out plan for Medicare. As one of the wealthiest first world nations, we should be able to find a fair way to CARE for our elderly and help them keep their dignity at an old age.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:30 PM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 13:33:31
"Cutting benefits for other people just because you wouldn't need those benefits is sort of the definition of a selfish act. "

Yes in theory, I would love to help out people who need the help. I just think that the government isn't doing a very good job with the economy. I don't think that you understand that the actual benefits aren't getting to the people who need them. For example, I will pay into SS and Medicare for the rest of my career. I put in a little of my paycheck, as insurance that will get me through the retirement times. By the time that comes, there won't be any money left. I think it is selfish for the government to be taking money and promising great return.

It is one thing to say
" BTW, don't fully expect to get this money back. This is helping others in need, but it may not be here when you retire" THAT is being honest, and I would much prefer them telling us the truth.

You can give and give and give and be selfless, but how much is that worth if you can barely survive yourself? SS# is NOT the insurance for the future that the government says it is.

I am a bit torn about the Medicare part of it. I would hate to screw over the elderly, but where are we going to cut the line? In the asian culture the elderly are taken care of and prized. It seems that the US values youth. I would love to help out the elderly, but not at the expense of my child's health or something. I think the idea of Medicare is ok, but I think there needs to be a bit of overhaul. There are more and more babyboomers reaching the elderly age. Do we have the money to COVER their medical care without financially destroying the younger generation?
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By imadanseurPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:33 PM
^^Honey, where in the world is it written that government and politicians are honest? What other practices do they exhibit honesty?

You are asking for something that just doesn't exist.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:36 PM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 13:37:22
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 13:39:37
^^Oh yes, there really aren't honest politics anymore. THIS is part of the reason I don't trust the government to take over my financial future. I have seen enough people get screwed over that I really don't trust them to take care of me at 65.

Slight Hijack

Why in the world does the Speaker of the House need a private jet? What do they do that is SOOOO important they warrants a huge private jet at the expense of taxes? They can't stop and fuel a smaller version of their HUGE jet?*SIGH*

Being cynical is a great thing. I would rather be prepared for a flood that didn't come, then to be unprepared for a flood that hit my city.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:51 PM
^Just because I choose not to be cynical all the time (ever heard of positivity? Optimism? They're pretty cool, try them out sometime) doesn't mean I'm unprepared. That's a sweeping generalization that has absolutely no basis in fact.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 01:57 PM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-08-18 14:02:16 Clarified
^But you said being cynical is not productive. I was just pointing out that there are many instances that being cynical can be productive. I think Pinup girl was just being realistic in her experience with politicians.

I am quite positive in a lot of things in my life, I do try them out. I am just very cynical and protective of my finances. Have you seen the stock market recently? I am super glad that I was cynical and put my savings into what *I* thought was right, and not the "proper thing to do".

Does that make sense? I am not saying you are unprepared, all I am saying is being cynical is not an insult in any form in regards to the way finances are run by the government/politicians.

I think that is it honorable but a little naive to think that if we just sit around and wait patiently for things to change, they will. Sometimes the best way is to pull out, strategize and start all over. The hard part will be to figure out where we make the cutoff line. If someone is 30 and they have paid 10 years into the SS, should they get back that money? Do we have the money to give it back to them? Should we just allow everyone 18+ to continue SS until they reach 65? People 17 and under don't have to pay into SS from now on, and they don't get benefits later on?

re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 02:15 PM
I like being cynical thankyouverymuch. :D

There are thousands of ways to fix both systems that ultimately could allow an "opt-out" option. The government spends A LOT of money on A LOT of unnecessary things (Two wars? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?). Of course, that's a pipe dream that will NEVER happen because they'll never get their collective heads out of their collective bums.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 02:26 PM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-08-18 14:27:33
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-08-18 14:35:14
PinUpGirl wrote:

Of course, that's a pipe dream that will NEVER happen because they'll never get their collective heads out of their collective bums.

THIS is exactly what I'm talking about when I say cynicism isn't productive. How is it helpful to anyone, especially yourself, to have this sort of attitude?

There are thousands of ways to fix both systems that ultimately could allow an "opt-out" option.

And they are...? I'm seriously asking. If you want something to change and you have ideas, you need to speak up and make the right people hear them. No one in our government has ever gotten anywhere by just sitting there and going "Ugh, this system is so stupid. You're doing it wrong, and I have ideas to fix it, but I'm not going to bother telling you what they are because you're all idiots."

jazz_lover wrote:

I think that is it honorable but a little naive to think that if we just sit around and wait patiently for things to change, they will.

Then I'm not sure why you're directing that to me, because regarding politicians and changing the system, I never said we should sit around. I said we should pay attention to the bills that are going across our senators' and representatives' desks, and if we don't like the way they're doing their jobs, we should stop voting for them, and call/write letters/send emails until they get the point. But in this case, no, I don't think sitting around being cynical and saying the government isn't working is going to do NEARLY as much good as actually taking action. If you want to make a change, then go make it.

Sometimes the best way is to pull out, strategize and start all over.

In the case of national, government institutions that affect MILLIONS of people, pulling out and starting from scratch is not going to be a helpful strategy. Medicare and Social Security are so interconnected with other parts of our government that you can't just "start all over" without inflicting MASSIVE financial damage on a lot of people. For example, we can't even talk about these programs without getting into issues of class, politics and politicians' behavior, and even theoretical issues of personal worth and effort in relation to work. See what I mean? There's no way to just take down Medicare and Social Security (and Medicaid, for that matter) and start all over without screwing up a whole lot of other things in the process.

Besides, where would that leave the people that really needed those institutions to survive? What do you propose we do for them? Because if you're (general "you," again) going to just knock out two of our major financial systems, you better have a real good plan to replace them, and quick.

LlamaLlamaDuck wrote:

I wouldn't want to be supporting those that choose not to support themselves.

How do you know that everyone that benefits from Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security is choosing not to support themselves? Obviously people find loopholes, because it's a flawed system, but it's extremely judgmental and, once again, a sweeping generalization, to say that people who accept benefits from those programs are just choosing to be poor, or choosing not to have insurance, or what have you.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 02:43 PM
I would LOVE to opt-out of Social Security. There is no guarantee I will live to see those benefits and by some calculations, there won't be any money left by the time I'm that age.

Just to pop in real quick:

-Studies have shown that politicians DO NOT take public opinion into account. I have a study on my desk right now where it was found that a majority of politicians in Congress do not pay any attention to public opinion polls in their decision-making.

-As much as I must support calling and writing letters, it's true: realistically speaking, it doesn't do anything. You must do a LOT more to get a politician's attention.

-Money controls all. That's why we gave the power of the purse to the House and not the Senate.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out?
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 03:04 PM
I told you. Cut spending in other ways and put that money toward these social programs. Isn't that the basis of a budget? You take money from something that can afford to lose it and put it toward something that needs it. Instead of funding 2 wars halfway across the world that are a disgusting misuse of lives, money, and time, put it in the Medicare/Medicaid & Social Security piggy bank. But no, since we're the world's police force, that will never happen. Let the terrorists ugly each other to death. It's what they were doing in the first place.
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out? (karma: 2)
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 18, 2011 03:11 PM
Whether you like it or not, you folks are missing one salient point about Medicare and Social Security... It AIN'T your money! It IS a tax! Your work and salary history count to see how much you qualify for when you are eligible, but you have no claim to the money. You are also subject to more than a few rules which can change in mid stream.

I, for example, paid into Social Security as a kid and also for some private business I had as a photographer. I don't and won't get a penny of it because as a U.S. Government employee hired before 1984 (I was hired in 1964) I was subject to a separate retirement system which did not pay into Social Security. We actually did pay more than Social Security and our agencies paid more than a regular employer would. OK, so I do get a rather generous pension based upon what credits I earned. The Government has to compete for talent just like any other major business. But Congress threw in a clinker...for every dollar I get in a federal pension, my Social Security benefit is reduced $2.00, which of course doesn't take very long to zero that out. And the money I paid into Social Security...It isn't mine, it is a tax! Not to worry, I'd much rather have my pension. Any federal employee hired after 1984 is under an entirely different system (and that includes now most members of Congress, 27 Representative out of 535 and 9 Senators out of 100 were in office before 1984) now DO pay Social Security, will collect benefits when/if eligible and like most large firms also have the option of a program similar to a 401K (It's called the Thrift Savings Plan.)

Social Security is a good program...it is going to save most of you from having to support your parents out of pocket if they do not have private investments...and a sizable percentage of people do not have private investments or pension plans sufficient to support them. [My own mother would have been among those had she not remarried after my father's death and thus covered by my stepfather's earned pension and health care. Her earned SS and Medicare spares here the indignity of either being indiginent or dependent upon her family. In my case, I'm the only family she has, as an only child.] Whether you collect, of course remains to be seen and will depend upon how the program is structured in the future. It's entire premise is (or more correctly was) based on the idea that people working today would support those who qualify today, and that there would be more of the former than the latter. Our increased longevity is skewing that premise. The myth of the "rugged individual" went out the window with the demise of the Wild West. The "Good Old Days" weren't really that good.

Medicare, likewise, will save you from having to pay out of pocket for your elders in need of medical attention. There is another aspect of this people seem to forget. When I go to my class reunions, particularly the one (the 45th) when most of my classmate were 62, there were a lot of people working only because they had to wait until they qualified for Medicare at age 65 because they would not carry health insurance from an employer into retirement. This is a mixed bag...some people can do this, some cannot (I can and do, BTW.) For everyone of those people still working who otherwise would have the means to retire, two younger people could be hired. This is exactly what happened to me. I retired at age 57 on a full earned pension. I was a highly compensated employee. I made more than double what an entry level employee could make. I could have stayed on longer (and earned even more pension) as age discrimination rules prevented my employer from forcing me out. So there had to be a "carrot" to entice me to retire and of course among those factors was that my health insurance would continue as though I were still employed (it ain't free BTW, I still pay about 30% of those costs out of pocket, even though Medicare is now my primary insuror.) I also had to have sufficient personal resources and earned pension benefits (I have) to accept that "carrot." You say you'd rather keep the 5% (it is actually 7 1/2% and a like amount is matched by an employer. If you are self-employed, as I was part time, you pay 14%) but then you have no safety net.

Jon
re: Paying Into Medicare & Social Security-Option To Opt Out? (karma: 1)
By dancin_til_death
On Thu Aug 25, 2011 03:16 AM
It always surprises me coming from Australia how differently you guys view community.

There are so many vulnerable people in our society who desperately need basic services which they cannot afford.

I am a medical student and have been working a lot with the elderly and patients with cancer. There is this man who is 52 years old and has just been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. He is currently undergoing very aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy in order to eliminate the cancer. He hasn't been physically able to work for the past 6 months. Forcing his wife to take on a second job to help keep their family afloat.

So many old people are poor. Yet they need medical care them most. Many of them have worked incredibly hard for the past 50+ years and continue to live on precious little. You will find little old ladies will die over winter because they don't want to turn on a heater.

Also I have met many men who have smoked for 20-30+ years and as a consequence have substantial lung disease. but guess what? this all occurred before the 80s, ie before there were any health warnings whatsoever. They represent victims of tobacco companies, not self destructive beings.
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