In these times of uncertainty, the people who have earned the right to relax after a life's worth of hard work and preparation have been backed against a wall. In 2003, a bill set standards that would disallow the old option of retirees to either have the government pay for health care and drugs - traditional Medicare; or to have the government pay third-party corporations to provide these services. Now, drug benefits can only be acquired through a private company.

Retirees have been forced to choose between competing private plans, trying desperately to find the one most compatible with their needs. These companies, which focus more time and effort on advertising and their public image have been coming up short when it comes to their primary function - providing seniors with the drugs they need to stay healthy. These companies, like all others, are concerned only with the profits they can make. They don't care if their customers have the drugs they need at reasonable prices. They wish only to sap them of their money and fill their own coffers.

The confusing maze of options has many retirees throwing up their hands in despair. Why is it that the world's most wealthy country - the country that spends the most per-capita on health care - cannot have a single, centralized, efficient, and socially responsible health and drugs program?

The answer is clear: private health care does not work. The nation's health care industry must be nationalized under democratic workers' control. The only solution to these problems is for health care to be a right and not a privilege of the well-to-do in this country. All people, rich or poor, have a basic human right to have the ability to care for their health needs. That is not possible under a system in which competing corporations are vying to oust each other of market control and scam their customers of every last penny. Nationalize the nation's health care! Hands off Medicare and Medicaid!