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Ideas to save Social Security and Medicare

Social Security cards with cash and benefit amount

Social Security cards with cash and benefit amount numbers Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto / zimmytws

I read with interest your Sept. 3 editorial, “Zero hour looms to fix Social Security and Medicare.” This issue has concerned me as I approach 65, and it should be of concern to all Americans.

To keep these programs solvent without impoverishing everyone younger than 40 or bankrupting the country, the retirement age for Social Security benefits should immediately be raised to 68, 69 or 70. Eliminate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security, and end the cap on earnings for paying into Social Security.

Medicare should be directly linked to the full Social Security retirement age. If you cannot collect Social Security until you are 67, 68, 69 or 70, you should not be eligible for Medicare until you reach that age. Raising the age for eligibility for Medicare would save billions of dollars.

Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for health insurance for individuals still in the workforce.

Rachel L. Ryan, East Northport

A solution proposed in your editorial goes too far.

I fully support removing the cap on taxable earnings for the purpose of contributing to Social Security. Why should an NBA or NFL player pay proportionately lower taxes than a middle manager on Long Island?

However, raising the tax rate by 1 percentage point to 7.2 percent for employees and employers would add an unnecessary burden for working and middle class earners. A more palatable compromise would be to eliminate the wage cap while lowering the tax rate to 5 percent.

Everyone making $127,200 or less would potentially realize a tax cut.

James Policke, Selden