To the editor:

Regarding the May 31 letter to the editor, "The problems with socialism."

Social Security: Prior to 1935, people who lived past 65 years may not have been able to work, would have to live with family - no other option existed, and/or were left out on the street. For them the only way out of extreme poverty was death. They also engaged in begging and living in poorhouses. This was 1 out of 2 older Americans.

Medicare: Prior to Medicare, aging adults who couldn't work, also had no access to healthcare. They were also making less money and more than half were not able to afford health insurance. (

Unions: We can thank them for work breaks, vacation, sick leave, family leave, minimum wage, eight-hour work day, overtime pay, worker's compensation, child labor laws, work safety standards, and military leave, to name just a few.

Healthcare: While the U.S. has better life expectancy after cancer, for most of the other leading causes of death, mortality rates are higher. So you won't die of cancer, but anything else you are better off living elsewhere. This includes mortality rate related to pregnancy. (

Medications: I hear a lot about the cost being higher because of research and testing. OK, but realize that many Americans choose to purchase their drugs from Canada, Mexico and India because affordable medication is not available here. (KaiserHealthNews -

VA system: Not all of the VAs are awful; in fact, a great number deliver excellent care. (Rand Corporation

In New Zealand this spring, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who said he was politically minded like the Republicans in the U.S. I said, "So you are against healthcare?" His response: "Of course not! Everyone deserves healthcare!" Exactly!

So, let's be clear, there are good reasons to have some programs that benefit all Americans.

Debra Quarles

Alexandria, MN