By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Cong. Rick Nolan made a short-notice visit to Horizon Health in Pierz Monday, to talk about Medicare and Social Security.
Nolan told the 14 people present that he has 25 – 30 meetings a day with various parties and people. “The federal government touches us all,” he said.
He encouraged those present to make their presence and concerns known. If people don’t do that, he said, “Then you virtually do not exist” in Washington, D.C.
Nolan’s comments on Social Security were short and sweet. “The country has fiscal and financial problems,” he said, but none that were created by Social Security or Medicare — in fact, he said Social Security has a $7 trillion surplus.
The economy, he said, cannot be allowed as an excuse to pull back from either of those areas — there are plenty of areas to save money, he said.
Speaking of projects in Iraq, he gave examples of some $60 billion in projects that have never been completed and a $300 million project that had been abandoned in Afghanistan.
“We’re dropping off suitcases and duffel bags with tens of millions of dollars,” he said, used to bribe certified drug peddlers and warlords.
“There are areas to save money. We don’t need to do it by cutting back on essential services,” he said, noting that in all of his years, he had never had anyone complain about paying Social Security or Medicare taxes.
“People don’t look at Social Security and Medicare as entitlements,” he said. “We all have to pitch in and people are willing to pay for that.”
While he said he’s cognitive of the fact that both need fixing, Social Security is good for another 20 – 25 years and Medicare for another eight – 10 years, he said.
The economic problems have been caused largely by wars of choice, nation-building abroad and unnecessary government expansion, he said.
In spelling out some problems Horizon Health had, Executive Director Bridget Britz said the government keeps putting roadblocks in the way. “Let the good people do their work and we can provide good care,” she said.
Horizon Health staff member Laurie Janson said it was almost a nightmare to get the money owed, because of something as simple as a decimal point in the wrong spot, requiring the mountains of paperwork to be redone, instead of the error simply being corrected.
Britz said it happened on a regular basis, saying the more insurance gets involved in government, the more complicated it becomes.
“There’s not a lot of advantages to growing old,” said Nolan, “But one is a perspective on things. A lot of rules came into being because of necessity.”
Nolan asked Britz and Janson to provide specific instances. “It helps me to learn which rules are helpful and which are not,” he said and asked them to contact him whenever they ran into such a situation.
Discussion continued on welfare, immigration, Social Security Disability and more and the one-hour planned stop turned into a two-hour stop.
Those who wish to contact Nolan or to share concerns, may call his Brainerd office, at (218) 454-4078.