I am a nurse. I work in a busy emergency room and it is a job I love. I enjoy helping others through a time of need or crisis. It is an occupation I feel honored to be involved with.

Every day, I take care of those without health insurance. Every day, I hear the concerns about paying the bill. I see people choose treatment based on ability to pay. In many cases, patients decline treatment that is needed solely based on payment concerns. They are among the 50 million or more in the United States currently without some sort of health care coverage. Let’s call them the 16 percent.

The uninsured have no noticeable movement, no “occupy” status, just the ever-present fear of losing their homes, cars or not being able to survive because of health care bills. Good luck getting out of an emergency room in this country for less than $1,000. That’s one of the only options the uninsured really have, a trip to the ER.

Many nursing groups across the United States, including the Maine State Nurses Association, have been active in supporting HR 676, a bill that would allow all citizens access to covered health care. It is also known as single payer insurance. It is fair, it includes all and it’s needed.

Long have health care insurers been making record profits off the backs of the sick and injured – a practice many consider to be unethical.

In light of recent economic instability and the ever-growing knowledge of corporate greed and mismanagement, it seems even more so today.

One of our greatest presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said in his Second Bill of Rights that all Americans have “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”

It’s time we act on behalf of all Americans and listen to the voices now echoing a voice from the past.

Steven P. Moody

North Waterboro

Hospitals, including some here in southern Maine, find themselves with budget shortfalls and are finding innovative ways to make up for those shortages. Many have resorted to mergers or acquisitions of previously independently owned medical practices. They then request from Medicare what is called provider-based status for those facilities.

Medicare will reimburse doctors at a higher rate when they are part of a hospital medical staff. That doctor can be located as much as 35 miles from the hospital campus and seeing patients in the same office and location as before.

Patients are not being told when making an appointment to see a doctor about a new billing practice that results in a facility charge that Medicare and most secondary insurance will not pay and the patient is forced to pay out-of-pocket. Questioning the charge will often result in very misleading and evasive answers designed to totally obscure the real reason for the charge.

The hospital knows that once a patient is informed, he will logically seek medical care from another doctor in private practice who will not or cannot charge such a fee. Medicare requires that once a hospital bills just one patient this way, all patients must be billed the same way, Medicare patient or not.

Quite simply, be informed and inquire about these charges when making an appointment.

Actually, Medicare requires the hospital to inform you when making an appointment but they typically do not for obvious reasons. It is said that these new provider-based facilities can generate as much as $30,000 of extra revenue per doctor per year for the hospital.

Search “facility charge” or “provider based status” on the Internet to learn more about this.

Charles (Dick) Thibodeau

West Kennebunk

 

Consider causes of job loss when going to polls in 2012

When listening to election year rhetoric, ponder the following:

Businesses hire workers when the demand for their products and services exceeds the ability to satisfy customers by any other means. Tax policy is a minor consideration when the need to hire is imminent.

Income tax increases do not fall on Subchapter S corporations and small businesses.

Owners of these enterprises pay tax on the net personal income derived from these enterprises, just like anyone who draws a salary.

Anyone with a net income of $1 million will pay the same federal tax based on their filing status. There is no special class for small-business owners.

Not all people of great wealth are “job creators.”

The Bank Modernization Act of 1999 allowed banks to become too big to fail. Congress can pass laws that return them to manageable size.

The Commodities Modernization Act of 2000 allowed unregulated speculation in oil futures, driving prices higher despite ample global supply to satisfy demand. There have been no oil shortages since 2000.

Congress passed free trade acts that may be favorable to the growth of future industries, but in the short term have allowed U.S. companies to abandon a segment of working class Americans who will never regain the jobs lost to moving manufacturing offshore.

This will continue to keep blue collar unemployment high and incomes low until attrition reduces the number of low-skilled workers in our population.

Highly skilled young workers employed in technologically demanding trades and industries will eventually reduce unemployment.

No single politician has the power under our Constitution to remedy unemployment or should be blamed for it.

A cooperative effort among all branches of government is necessary to put America back to work.

Your vote will be important in 2012.

Tom Foley

Cumberland Foreside

 

Amid the bad times, some groups still do good work

With all the negatives in today’s world, isn’t it beneficial to have organizations that do good work? These groups include: Common Cause, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Council of Maine and others.

Hopefully they will inspire other organizations and individuals to work for a better world.

Frank Kramer

Scarborough