Continued from page 1

Rights here, rights there

In the story “Thousands rally for U.S. immigration reform” (Nation, Friday), an illegal alien in Chicago by the name of Eric Molina is quoted as saying, “We have rights.”

Could an American illegally or legally entering Mexico publicly assert the same? In Mexico, even naturalized Mexican citizens may not demonstrate against the government. You must be born in Mexico to demonstrate. In Tucson, Ariz., a march organizer named Margot Veranes blames low turnout on aggressive enforcement by the Border Patrol and police — as though that is a bad thing.

What these people and their compatriots are really saying is, “The United States has no right to enforce its security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

They would not be the first to assert that the foreign nations from which they illegally emigrated to the United States have every right to such enforcement as well as the right to have Spanish as their official language. Yet they and their amnesty/open-borders lobbyists and representatives rail against the United States’ right to enforce its borders and make English its official language.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent CNN a letter trying to use political intimidation against Lou Dobbs’ First Amendment right to keep the American public informed about illegal aliens. Such political intimidation won’t work here. Viva the First Amendment!

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

Health limits

Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt describes Medicare as “unlimited health care” (“Leavitt sees generation split on Medicare,” Nation, April 25). I think his characterization is misleading. Medicare certainly is not unlimited if he is referring to long-term care. Medicare does not pay for unlimited long-term care. Medicare is not unlimited if he is referring to prescription medications. Ask anyone who has encountered the “doughnut hole.”

Perhaps he is describing the wide disparity in Medicare costs among regions. If so, I agree with him. Medicare spending is two or three times more in some regions than in others. Does Mr. Leavitt have suggestions on how to reduce these discrepancies? A workable solution could save taxpayers a lot of money and reduce the risk of generational warfare.

Another explosive cost is Medicare Advantage. Does Mr. Leavitt have suggestions on how to reduce the amount of money taxpayers pay for Medicare Advantage?

To date, both Congress and the president seem oblivious to the high cost of Medicare Advantage. MedPAC has long recommended that Medicare Advantage be paid no more than regular Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicare Advantage will increase spending by $149 billion over from 2009 to 2017. CBO also estimates that Medicare Advantage will shorten the solvency of the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by two years. These warnings seem to fall on deaf ears.

Medicare Advantage is the private-sector alternative to regular Medicare. I understand Mr. Leavitt’s initial support for this option, but it is not working. Originally, Medicare Advantage would have been paid less than regular Medicare. The ceiling was 95 percent of regular Medicare. That did not work. Today, Medicare Advantage is paid 13 to 19 percent more than regular Medicare. How can Mr. Leavitt continue to be enthusiastic about a program that costs taxpayers so much more money, especially when he worries about generational conflicts over cost?

ALAN KEMP

Story Continues →