At a time when we are facing budget challenges at both the national and state level, it is critically important to make certain those most vulnerable among us are not asked to bear too heavy a burden.
Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins held fast to this key principle in voting against recent federal budget proposals that included provisions to drastically cut Medicaid funding and covert the program into a block grant.

Maine has one of the oldest populations in the country and it’s getting older. Maine citizens ages 65-74 are the fastest growing segment of the population in the state and, by the year 2020, Maine is expected to be second only to Florida as the state with the highest percentage of the population over age 65.

The Medicaid program is an important part of how we are able to ensure our elderly and disabled residents get the long-term care they need and deserve as they get older.

Today, Medicaid covers 70 percent of Mainers in nursing homes. In fact, Medicaid provides 93 percent of the funding across the spectrum of long-term care services that are so critical to our state’s elderly and disabled citizens.

Drastic cuts or changes in the Medicaid program would have a huge impact on our ability to effectively take care of the health and well-being of our senior citizens.

Sens. Snowe and Collins did not take these proposals lightly and did what they always do: put Maine people first. And for that, we should all be grateful.

Brenda Gallant

Executive Director, Maine Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

Augusta

Governor’s veto contradicts support for right-to-work

Is anyone paying attention to what Gov. LePage said in response to his veto of L.D. 1222 (Press Herald, May 27)?

“My administration,” he said, “strongly believes that Maine businesses have the right to contract with each other as they deem appropriate” and “laws and regulations that require or prohibit certain provisions of contracts take away the rights of job creators to independently organize their affairs.”

Really? Then why would he openly support the right-to-work legislation that clearly prohibits Maine business from having the right to contract with each other as they deem appropriate or better yet independently organizing and negotiating their own contracts?

I’m confused. Does he or does he not want businesses to handle their affairs as they deem appropriate.

The right-to-work legislation clearly prohibits Maine business from adding a security clause to their contracts. Gov. LePage’s claim that he is not a polished speaker may be true, but even an unpolished speaker’s double-talk is very clear. This I can say with a straight tongue.

John C. Jordan

Biddeford

Elder abuse awareness has its day next week

At a young age, many of us are taught to respect our elders, for they have spent their lives caring for us and contributing to the society in which we live today. As valued members of our community, our elders deserve the utmost care and appreciation.

Each year it’s believed that more than 13 percent of seniors are victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Within our own community, the majority of incidents are never reported. For every report of abuse to Adult Protective Services, five incidents go unreported. Currently almost 16 percent of Maine’s population is 65 and older.

The health and well-being of our elderly population must be brought to the forefront of societal concerns. We must protect their health, safety and rights and treat them the same way we would hope to be treated ourselves.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is time to reflect on what we are doing as a community to support our elderly.

We all have opportunities to reach out to our families, friends, neighbors and places of employment and worship.

Next week, take a stand against elder abuse. The future of our community depends on it.

David and Johanna Gilland

Home Helpers of Southern Maine

Arundel

You needn’t be ‘right wing’to be ‘open’ for business

Regarding the recent theft of the governor’s “Open for Business” sign and the ad on Craigslist concerning a “right wing” sign for sale.

When did open for business and creating jobs become right wing?

Just wondering.

I work in a business on Front Street in Bath and every morning I hang a sign that says “Open” – meaning we are open for business. Does that make us right wingers?

Just wondering.

Mark Richardson

Pownal

Portland Jetport security protocol baffles traveler

As a frequent user of the Portland Jetport, I’m perplexed as to why local TSA security protocol differs from at other major airports.

I appreciate the serious nature of passenger security screenings and the serious job responsibilities TSA employees have. I appreciate the good job they all do. What puzzles me is an additional process that I’ve only experienced at the jetport.

Prior to entering the gate terminal, my identity is checked, my carry on is screened, I pass through an electronic scanner and TSA agent and Portland police visual scans. This involves three or four TSA staffers and the screening steps are similar to other airports (JFK, Newark, DCA, Denver, Las Vegas, BWI, Charlotte) that I fly out of.

However, upon reaching my gate, it is not unusual to be subjected to additional screenings, including swabbing of drink containers, patdowns and wand scans in front of all other passengers awaiting boarding at the gate. These screenings involve four or five TSA staff who must be removed from the main entry screening point. If I’ve reached my gate after several human and electronic terminal entry screenings, why am I being subjected to further screenings at the gate?

Last week my wife and I observed, with considerable discomfort, a woman being patted down and checked with a wand in front of children and other passengers during the boarding process. The protocol did not leave me feeling warm and fuzzy about the terminal entry gate screening process.

Again, the Portland Jetport is the only airport where I’ve been subjected to or observed these additional screenings, and I don’t understand why last-minute screening at the gates is conducted here and not elsewhere.

J.R. Thibault

Old Orchard Beach