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The Public Pulse: Picking a Medicare plan is no cakewalk; debate on drug policy

The Public Pulse: Picking a Medicare plan is no cakewalk; debate on drug policy

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How proposed changes to Medicare could impact you.

My Medicare journey

There are about 350,000 Nebraskans on Medicare. I am one  a senior citizen reviewing choices for Medicare 2022.

I have degrees in math and engineering, and for 40 years I worked in software. I was not worried when I went to the Medicare website. It would be easy. Briefly: 

There were 22 plans to choose from for drugs. The first one plan took 30 minutes to review, and I still didn’t understand all I need to. Then I looked at the 12 Medicare Medigap plans in Nebraska. I picked the same one I’ve had.

I decided to start with Medicare Advantage. I doubt that many people know that it is not really Medicare but private insurance companies that need to meet Medicare requirements. These are the ads you see on TV (Jimmy Walker, Joe Namath, etc.). There are 22 policies in Nebraska. I clicked on the companies I have heard of to compare. Each had different drug coverage and health care coverage.

My solution, without sufficient information, was to pick a Medicare Advantage Plan, pick a company I like, and call. I found a knowledgeable agent with the patience of Job. We spent hours on the phone and in email and he answered all my questions.

Do I have the best plan for me? No idea. But my blood pressure is down, which is good for me.

Alice Klein, La Vista

Careful about cannabis

I am in total disagreement with Richard Rubin’s Oct. 24 letter to Pulse touting the "value" of legalizing marijuana use. His letter emphasized that marijuana is often used to treat medical problems. This is probably true in some cases. I would agree with this in controlled cases. A doctor’s prescription would be required and the dose could only be administered in the doctor’s office or by a approved home health care provider. If anyone could carry the prescription into a pharmacy and pick up the dose, it would be too easy for it to be a “Saturday Night Whee.”

Frank Ryan, Gretna


Wrong kind of war 

No more forever wars? What about the War on Drugs?

The War on Drugs was declared by President Richard Nixon in June 1971. We have now been fighting this war for 50 years, and we are no closer to winning it than when it was declared.

When you have been fighting a war for 50 years with no discernible results, it is time  indeed, it is long past time  for a change in strategy. The drug problem should be treated as a medical problem rather than a law enforcement problem.

Drug addicts have a chronic medical condition, and they need to be treated for their condition so that they can lead normal lives.

Let us hope that the needed change in strategy comes to pass, and that the drug warriors of the future will carry stethoscopes instead of badges and guns.

Robert Ranney, Omaha

COVID in Panhandle

Once again Gov. Ricketts has cancelled the information available on the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Our small community is experiencing a surge in cases that we are only aware of by word of mouth. Since Panhandle Public Health can no longer post cases by county, we have no way to assess our risk levels.

Why? If that isn’t the purpose of public health districts, I don’t know what is. Does the governor want the citizens of Nebraska to think this is all done? What is his goal? Certainly not the health and safety of citizens of the Panhandle.

Cynthia Gregg, Oshkosh, Neb.

Workers need support  

Yes, there are unions for Kellogg’s and John Deere, but where are the unions for Walmart, Hy-Vee, CVS, Walgreens and other retailers that have their employees exposed to COVID-19?

Don Sloter II, Ralston 

Bacon failed again

Don Bacon remains confused. Once again, the GOP congressman failed his responsibility to his constituents and the U.S. Constitution he swore an oath to uphold. Bacon's cowardice is blatant. In a recent CNN interview he claimed to previously support a failed bipartisan commission to investigate the disgraceful and dangerous events on Jan. 6.

Yet when it mattered, Bacon failed to vote to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for evading a bipartisan congressional committee subpoena. Bacon's cowardice and duplicity were again on full display to 2nd District voters. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger both sit on the bipartisan committee Bacon supported until the GOP leadership said no.

This is not the leadership we should expect from a former military officer and self-avowed patriot. Voters should hold this cowardly politician accountable in November 2022. Don Bacon is bad for American democracy.

Zach Atchley, Omaha 

Support democracy

How disappointing that Sens. Fischer and Sasse voted no to the discussion of the Freedom to Vote Act on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Oct. 20. This is the second time our Nebraska U.S. senators, along with other Republican senators, voted against discussion of a voting rights bill.

This bill would roll back legislation in 19 Republican-dominated states that passed partisan legislation to skew elections in their favor. The Freedom to Vote Act would prohibit partisan gerrymandering, require transparency in advertising and protect election officials from the attacks they endured since the 2020 presidential election. These reforms are nonpartisan and do not interfere with the will of the voters. Voter suppression is undemocratic, un-American and a shameful way to win an election.

We ask that Sens. Fischer and Sasse reconsider their positions on this vital pillar of democracy.

Joanna and Larry Lindberg, Omaha

Voting rights

Once again, our Nebraska GOP senators refuse to support even allowing a discussion of voting rights. One has to wonder why the GOP, including our Nebraska senators, are so afraid of democracy and the right to vote.

Lois Schreur, Omaha

Biden failures

So, Joe Biden blames OPEC for the rising gas prices. What a laugh — why doesn’t he look in the mirror and blame himself for canceling oil leases on federal lands, stopping fracking and canceling the Keystone pipeline? Donald Trump had us energy independent and the price of gas at record lows. Thank you, Joe Biden.

Voters, you can blame yourselves for inflation and high prices on gas.

Chris Lewis, Omaha


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