LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Remove limit for FICA deductions
July 9, 2009 · 9:21 AM
To the editor:
Last week, my 95-year-old mother waited six hours in the middle of the night for emergency-room treatment for a suspected blood clot.
The emergency waiting room was packed with sick patients, some elderly like mom, but many children, too, feverish and huddled with their parents. The staff of this new, state-of-the-art Oregon hospital performed their duties efficiently and courteously, stretched as they were, but a nurse remarked that their emergency room area is always packed now because so many people don’t have insurance.
My brother, who was with my mother through this ordeal, said aloud, over and over, “The system is broken.” He named the problem.
If we are to consider ourselves a civilized nation, we must start with the concept that everyone has the right to have good, affordable medical care. President Obama advocates a public option health insurance plan to compete with current private insurance plans.
But how to pay for it? One sensible source is to eliminate the upper limit to contributions to FICA. Most workers are not aware that those earning over (approximately) $110,000 a year get a “raise” in their paycheck when that amount is reached, since that is the upper limit for deductions. What a regressive tax! Those with moderate or low incomes pay FICA deductions all year long, while upper-income folks skate free once the limit is achieved.
Attention Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Rep. Rick Larsen: The upper limit for FICA deductions should be eliminated, and the additional revenues that are collected should be used to help finance the public-option health insurance plan.