To the editor:

No matter what the Republicans tell us, socialism is not a four letter word. 

Best examples are Social Security and Medicare for our elderly. They are socialist programs. And 30% of the people in Howell County, or about 12,000 citizens, have Medicare as their health insurance. My guess is these 12,000 people would take to the streets if someone tried to take Medicare away, their lives depend on it. And OMC (Ozarks Medical Center) might not be in West Plains but for the dollars that these Medicare patients bring to the hospital. 

But Republicans fought hard to prevent Medicare from being enacted. The American Medical Association, with Republican backing, hired Ronald Reagan as part of a covert campaign to undermine support for Medicare and Medicaid. “Operation Coffeecup” was born. Reagan made an LP record, “Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine.” 

The AMA sent it to the ladies’ auxiliary of the Medical Association around the county. The wives were instructed to put on the coffeepot, play the record for their friends and fellow physicians’ wives, and write personalized letters to their senators and congressmen opposing the Medicare program. The idea was to make it seem as if the letters were spontaneously written by distressed citizens. 

But President Johnson and the Democrats were able to defeat the Republicans and Medicare was signed into law July 1965. But Republicans have not given up and are working to undermine Medicare. Congressional Republicans have repeatedly attempted to transform Medicare into a voucher program, which experts warn would lead to the “demise” of the program. 

As the cost of drugs skyrocket, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress will not allow Medicare to negotiate for better prescription drug prices. And the highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell, has called for cuts to Social Security. 

Think about this the next time you vote, your life might depend on it.

Earl Fuller 

Willow Springs

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