October 17, 2013

Letters to the editor: Civil emergency declaration another LePage puzzle

(Continued from page 1)

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Gov. LePage speaks to the media last Thursday after meeting with Democratic leaders at the State House to discuss his reasons for declaring a civil emergency. A reader says that the declaration gave Mainers “something new to be embarrassed about.”

Steve Mistler/Staff Writer

He’s not alone in citing this growing trend and its serious consequences. The family is the laboratory for life. It is where values and behaviors are learned.

A recent book by Charles Murray, titled “Coming Apart,” suggests the new upper class is not based on income. It is based on having two parents who are educated.

I can’t agree with Mr. Vaughan on his solution, but I agree that attention should be paid. Over time, this trend has serious consequences.

Jane Merchant


Story about Canadian care offers implausible scenario

I read with interest M.D. Harmon’s glowing account of Dr. Michael Ciampi’s medical practice in South Portland (“Maine doctor uses cash model that worked since Hippocrates,” Oct. 4).

Mr. Harmon is, unsurprisingly, very taken with a doctor who demands cash up front. Equally unsurprisingly, the question of how people who can’t afford cash up front obtain health care doesn’t seem to concern either of them very much at all.

What struck me, however, was Dr. Ciampi’s anecdotal slap at medical care in Canada, with the story of a grandmother who received one hip replacement before “socialized medicine” but who was made to suffer grievously, waiting years for a second hip replacement after “socialized medicine” was introduced.

The Canadian universal health care system was introduced between 1961 and 1966. Hip replacement was a very new and quite radical procedure through the 1950s, with a relatively high failure rate, so if Dr. Ciampi’s grandmother received a new hip “before socialized medicine,” she would have been one of the first people in Canada to do so.

Not only that, the introduction of health services through the 1960s and 1970s did not involve long waits for health care in Canada.

Indeed, they still don’t; average wait times for hip replacements today vary by province – but all are within 60 to 90 days. Unlike the USA, Canada makes all of that information available online.

So what is the chronology here, exactly? A grandmother who received one hip pre-1960, and the second perhaps 30 to 40 years later – and then in a case that would be entirely outside the norm for Canadian health care?

It seems quite likely that Dr. Ciampi is talking through his hat.

Scott MacEachern


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