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posted: 8/29/2012 12:29 PM

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Don't believe Medicare fears

I read Steve Morrissey's Aug. 19 letter and felt compelled to respond because I received an email with the same misinformation he presented. I checked it out and found that the email was just another urban legend.

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Those of us on Medicare are now paying $108.20, unless your income is over a certain amount, then you pay more. In 2013 the estimated cost will be $112.10, and in 2014 it will be $117.10.

The $500 billion taken out of Medicare is from eliminating waste and fraud. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the House bill will result in "savings" of $219 billion in Medicare. I have learned that it is important to always check the validity and source of information you receive through email.

Marge Husted

Sleepy Hollow

Ask doc about whooping cough

The multiple inaccuracies in the letter published Aug. 25 concerning whooping cough and the pertussis vaccine cannot pass without rebuttal.

The studies referenced were blatantly misinterpreted. The first actually advocates increased vaccination as it appeared that immunity appeared to decline faster than had been previously thought. The second study concerning "cocooning" was performed to evaluate the effect of a program to increase the vaccination rate of caregivers of infants in high-risk populations to reduce the incidence of pertussis in the infants and was a success.

No vaccine is 100 percent protective, nor do they claim to be; the success of vaccine programs is based on a concept of herd immunity. That means if enough people are vaccinated, an isolated case of a disease will not have enough susceptible hosts to create an epidemic. If an ever-increasing number of parents decline vaccinations for their children, we will soon see even more outbreaks of diseases that were previously eradicated in the U.S., such as measles, which can cause encephalitis and death in 1 in 1,000 that are infected, and mumps, which can lead to permanent male sterility and meningitis, and, of course, pertussis, which is fatal in about 1 in 100 infants younger than 1 year old who contract it.

Rather than doing their own research as the writer suggests, which often leads to unreliable Internet sources with a hidden agenda, people should talk to their doctor and get reliable information about the benefits and risks of vaccines. Parents of vaccinated children should inquire if their children's playmates have had up-to-date vaccines and consider the risks to their own children if they are exposed. Parents of infants should insist those with frequent exposure to their child be up to date with their pertussis vaccination to avoid transmission to the infant.

Dr. Ronald Hirsch

Elgin

Plutocracy not for me

I really don't want to live under a plutocratic government. With the Supreme Court ruling and the Romney-Ryan budget, they want to give more to the wealthy and less to the middle and poor classes. Plutocracy is a government run by the wealthy, and that is exactly what their budget is.

Charles Mitsch

Carpentersville

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