Make your voice heard.

Back in August I took the time to sit down and write to one of our senators from Oklahoma. As many of you may remember Sen. Coburn R.OK proposed his budget cuts which included cuts to Veterans Affairs. I went to Dr. Coburn’s website and sent him my feelings on this issue.
Well this last week I finally received a reply from him. Now I realize that this was probably sent by a staffer It did state his case for his actions that I was in question of. So it just goes to show that It still means something to take the time to contact your elected officials. Remember It’s still our government, we have a say in it’s operation.
Here’s the letter I just received. Thank you Dr. Coburn for taking the time to respond to a constituent.

November 21, 2011

Mr. Xxx Xxxxx

xxxxx SE xth Street

Midwest City, Oklahoma 73130

Dear Mr. Xxxxx,

Thank you for your message regarding the plan I released in July 2011 to eliminate $9 trillion in deficit spending over ten years, Back in Black. It is good to hear from you, and I apologize for my delayed response.

As I am sure you know, right now the national debt is one of the gravest threats to our nation’s future. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, the government is expected to spend over $3.6 trillion, nearly $1 trillion of which will be deficit spending. This means currently, Congress borrows 27 cents out of every dollar it spends, constantly adding to our $14.8 trillion national debt at a rate of $35,000 every single second.

Back in Black includes more than 700 detailed, specific deficit-reduction proposals, which together would eliminate $9 trillion in spending over ten years, balancing the budget and producing a surplus so we can start paying back the national debt.

Over ten years, the plan eliminates $4 trillion of low-priority or wasteful spending from the budgets of Congress, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies. It reduces Medicare and Medicaid costs by $2.6 trillion, eliminates $992 billion in unnecessary tax breaks and special interest giveaways, and saves about $1.4 trillion in interest costs on the national debt. The plan also makes Social Security solvent by directing all savings back into Social Security rather than the general budget. This plan provides Congress with a detailed list of real savings to meet deficit reduction goals and put our nation on a sustainable course.

Please know I am the last person who would disrespect the tremendous sacrifices of our veterans. The proposals in Back in Black are not designed to harm veterans-they are designed to protect them, and all Americans, from the debt crisis that will inevitably devastate our great country in the coming years if we do not fix our budget. Our nation’s fiscal crisis is so dire that it will take shared sacrifice from every citizen of this nation. I understand that those who have served in the military may feel they should not be asked to sacrifice once more. However, less than 2 percent of my budget options would affect veterans and military retiree’s health care. The other 98 percent of the savings I propose deal with other areas of the budget.

I understand your concerns about changes to Medicare. Please rest assured that few in Congress are proposing dramatic, immediate changes to Medicare. Virtually everyone in Congress is aware that any reforms to the program must be implemented very carefully and gradually to minimize disruption for the millions of seniors who depend on them.

You should know, however, Medicare is facing serious financial problems. Today, the average senior currently on Medicare receives benefits that, on average, are three times greater than the taxes they paid into the program throughout their career. This imbalance has happened because the average Americans’ life expectancy has increased, the number of workers supporting each beneficiary has declined, and Congress has repeatedly expanded Medicare to cover new benefits and populations without finding a way to pay for the new programs. As a result, the program currently has an unfunded liability of more than $36.8 trillion in projected benefits that politicians have no idea how to pay for. We will begin feeling this shortfall very soon. According to the program actuaries, if no changes are made, Medicare as we know it could be insolvent in as little as five years.

Fortunately, if we act now, there is no need to cause any major hardships for those who depend on Medicare. The proposals in Back in Black would implement new techniques to fight waste and fraud; streamline and simplify the current unpredictable and unfair maze of premiums, deductibles, and co-pays; slightly increase the Medicare Part B premium; allow seniors to opt-out of Medicare Part A without losing Social Security; requires high-income individuals to pay the full cost of their Part B and D coverage; increase Medicare’s eligibility age by two months every year until it reaches 67; and permanently fix the Medicare physician reimbursement formula. If Congress will act now, these modest changes will be sufficient to keep the program solvent for roughly the next decade.

We are at a very critical time in our history. If we act now to cut the deficit, it is possible to balance the budget without any major hardships for middle class families, the military, retirees, or the most vulnerable citizens in our country. There is only a small window of time for Congress to act, however. Every year we delay, the choices will become harder and harder. If we wait until the last minute, for many Americans they will be devastating. If the debt continues to grow at its current rate, there is no question we will reach a point where investors will decide the United States is incapable of paying back its loans and refuse to lend us additional money. When that happens, we will have no choice but to impose harsh cuts and high taxes throughout the country, weakening our national security, imposing great suffering on the poor, disabled, and elderly, and dealing a crippling blow to the economy.

The alternative to this situation is for Congress to take the initiative and get our spending under control now. If we wish to preserve America as country that is safe, prosperous, and free, it is imperative we take this course without delay. I will continue working with all members of Congress on a comprehensive agreement that will put our nation on a sustainable course. I will also continue working to return the federal government to the limited role defined for it in the Constitution.

Thank you again for writing. Best wishes and God bless.


Tom A. Coburn, M.D.

United States Senator

TC: cak

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