November 24, 2013

Letters to the editor: Affordable Care Act stirs debate

Republicans should present a viable alternative.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is on life support.

click image to enlarge

President Obama pauses while speaking about his signature health care law Nov. 14.

The Associated Press

The government website is a dismal failure, and President Obama has been thoroughly discredited for misleading the American people when he stated that if you like your current health insurance, you can keep it.

Millions of Americans continue to receive cancellation letters, and Obama’s “fix” for this problem is just another political ploy. It has no real substance.

To add insult to injury, Democrats are abandoning “Team Obama” and jumping ship.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are having a field day. After all, this is a golden opportunity for the Republican Party to capture a significant number of Senate and House seats in the 2014 elections.

The Republican leadership smells blood and is ready to pounce. If nothing else, the 2014 elections promise to be downright malicious and will polarize this nation even more.

The Republicans have another choice, however.

They can actually show some leadership by unifying around their own health care bill, presenting it as a viable alternative to Obamacare, and then pushing it through the House of Representatives.

A real debate on health care reform would then ensue, and the American people might finally see their elected officials engaging in something called-governing.

John Cross

Tenants Harbor

A recent liberal argument about “Obama Care” was parroted by a letter writer in the Nov. 18 Press Herald.

The argument goes like this: The Congress passed the law; the Supreme Court reviewed and approved it.

Opponents should just shut up and accept it. On occasion, others have added the notion that because it was passed by the Congress, it necessarily expresses the will of the people. Nice try, but wrong.

The following may help clear up the confusion:

While the law can be said to have been passed by Congress, it was actually passed by the Democrats without a single Republican vote.

Judging from many polls in the year and a half before it was passed, fully 70 percent of the population opposed it. The Democrats passed it anyhow. Even today, a majority of the electorate still oppose it.

In well-publicized dereliction of their responsibility, the Democrats passed the bill without even reading it. In sheep-like fashion, they heeded Senate Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi: You have to pass it to find out what’s in it.

The Supreme Court did not “review and approve” the law.

The ruling was limited to deciding whether the government could levy a penalty against those who did not buy government approved health insurance.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in a rather tortured justification, broke a tie vote by essentially rewriting the law to define the word “penalty” to mean “tax,” then confirming the government’s power of taxation.

This despite the wording of the law itself, which specifically defined the payment as a penalty, not as a tax.

Beyond this limited decision, however, the court did not review or approve any other provision.

Finally, the First Amendment entitles the people speak out against any law they don’t like.

Paul S. Bachorik

Falmouth

LePage could help Mainers by supporting Obamacare

As a rural Mainer, I am very disappointed with Gov. Paul LePage for not supporting the Affordable Care Act.

As governor, he should be able to see the health care needs of Mainers and work to ensure that we have every plan and dollar available to us from Washington.

We all have listened to statements on how we have the oldest population, how many people are on Maine- Care and other excuses but for these reasons he should be willing to allow Maine citizens to fully use Obamacare.

As it stands, Mainers may only choose from Anthem or Maine Community Health Options.

I have recently signed up online and am grateful that the Affordable Care Act is there. I am not happy that I must therefore leave York Hospital and its doctors and move where my new insurance provider wants me to go. Why is the state allowing this to happen?

I would like to propose that all Maine politicians and national politicians must join the same health care options that Maine voters must use. They would quickly learn that we are not being offered the “Cadillac” of health care plans as they and their families currently receive by serving us!

Ann W. Johnson

Newfield

Neighbors can be notified when lawn chemicals used

Summer is over and lawns are now the last thing most people are thinking about. However, if you are concerned about chemicals and their effect on the environment, children, pets and wildlife this may be of importance to you. Of 32 percent pesticides currently used by commercial lawn care services, 53 percent contain ingredients that are suspected carcinogens, 28 percent contain known or suspected reproductive toxins and 34 percent contain known or suspected endocrine disruptors. (Source: Toxins Action Center 2005). Children are especially vulnerable. Also, dogs exposed to one of the most common lawn pesticides, 2,4-D have a higher incidence of bladder cancer and malignant lymphomas. (Source: Glickman et al.(2004) Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association).

Many people are not aware of their right to be notified prior to their neighbor’s lawn care application of lawn chemicals. In the state of Maine, you have the right to contact the companies within 500 feet of your property and be put on their list to call before applications. You also have the right to ask for the Material Safety Data Sheet, which lists the chemicals being used.

November and December, however, are the only months you can be added to the Maine Board of Pesticides Notification Registry for next year. The benefit of doing this is that you will automatically be notified of any application within 250 feet, so you don’t have to contact each company. This is especially important if a neighbor has never sprayed before and begins a new service. There is a $20 annual fee and the deadline is Dec. 31. You can call the Board of Pesticides (287-2731) for an application, or go to www.thinkfirstspraylast.org, click on Download Notification Register, then click on Maine Pesticide Notification Register.

Donna Herczeg

Portland

On anniversary of address, thoughts turn to Lincoln

On Nov. 17, I was riveted to the self-promoting column authored by our new Maine resident Barney Frank. Of course the caption caught my eye because here we are in the middle of this colossal Obamacare disaster and all Mr. Frank could muster is a column (“Cheney’s book gets it wrong”) about how Dick Cheney may have made an error in his recently published book. This could be a case of writer's block but I would suggest that Frank shut off the MSNBC channel and enjoy the off-season at the Maine coast.

I started reflecting about great writers and great speeches throughout American history. My thoughts quickly shifted to President Kennedy and President Lincoln.

As we celebrated the 150-year anniversary last week of the Gettysburg Address, I got to thinking of how this country has come full circle in 150 years. You see, President Lincoln’s words, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” resonate in my mind. I reasoned that a great president ended slavery.

Unfortunately if we fast -orward to today, we have “President Teleprompter” who has enslaved the American people with debt and broken promises that we cannot ever repay.

Gerard Fletcher

Sanford

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