September 18, 2013

Letters to the editor: Governor was right to resist expansion

Gov. LePage and Republicans who stood with him were right not to be suckered into expanding Medicaid. We would have had to hire more Department of Health and Human Services staff, costing about $10.5 million, and pay about $18 million to cover parents at 100 to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Paul LePage
click image to enlarge

Gov. LePage takes a sip out of a coffee mug displaying a “no new taxes” message in a 2012 file photo. By declining to accept Affordable Care Act funds to expand MaineCare eligilbility, the governor and his Republican allies in the Legislature saved Maine taxpayers money, a reader says.

2012 Associated Press File Photo/Pat Wellenbach

And when the federal government cut our funding for the expansion in three years (like a pusher giving someone free dope), DHHS says that would have cost us $75 million annually.

The increased costs would hurt our economy, in the long run doing more harm to the poor than good.

Thanks to the governor and Republicans, insurance competition is lowering costs.

A 30-year-old single person making $15,856 could pay $10 a week -- the cost of a pack and a half of cigarettes -- for private health insurance under the exchange. A family of three (two 30-year-olds, one child) making $26,951 would pay just $74 a month -- the cost of a cellphone. Both without affecting Maine's budget.

The money we refused will not go to other states. Expansion states will not receive additional dollars because other states opt out; rather, the total cost will decrease.

According to a 2012 Congressional Budget Office projection, states refusing to expand Medicaid in 2014 will reduce the federal deficit by $84 billion. Rejecting the Medicaid expansion keeps money in the pockets of Maine taxpayers, who also pay federal taxes.

Nor will containing Medicaid expansion drive more to the emergency room. According to a Muskie School analysis of ER use in Maine: "There was no discernable pattern associating high or low ED (emergency department) use with ... insurance status."

And according to Maine DHHS, charity care has increased from $67 million in 2001 to $196 million in 2011, despite repeated expansions in Medicaid enrollment.

Bryan Dench

Falmouth

Teens' cruelty toward kitten demands strict punishment

Concerning a video made by teenagers who put a cat in a microwave but did not kill her:

It was a joke they put on their computers and sent out, as clarified in Bill Nemitz's Sept. 11 column ("Immature brains behind microwave cat video").

I think their parents should smash up their cellphones and say, "This is not a joke." No more tweeting for a year. That was cruel and inhumane treatment of an animal and could inspire others in their peer group to do the same, if not worse.

Young people have to be responsible for their actions or grow up as irresponsible and uncaring adults. That was not a funny joke. It was cruel.

It frightened many people and disgusted me. I did not realize that it was a joke until I read the whole story in Bill Nemitz's column.

Life is a precious gift every day. It does not give the right for two teenagers (no matter what age they are) to be reckless with a pet for their own amusement and to record it, edit it and put it on the Internet to frighten others.

I say, let them live without their cellphones for a year! It might remind them to use wisdom and maturity in dealing with animals as well as human beings.

Pat Davidson Reef

retired teacher, Catherine McAuley High School

Falmouth

'Egyptian carnage' reason to halt aid to that country

As a surgeon, I find it disgusting to see the Egyptian carnage on the TV news. Young people, even children, with holes in their heads are unthinkable horror shows. The wounded with lost limbs and a myriad of other horrendous injuries that will eventually kill or maim them for life are incredible.

Let's wake up and look at this monstrous massacre and listen to the explosions and crackling gunfire. Too bad we cannot actually touch these slippery, blood-covered bodies, and feel the tears on relatives' cheeks to really remind us of our involvement and responsibility.

This, fellow Americans, is shameful and disgraceful, and every one of us must bear responsibility and confess to the fact that we paid for this with hard-earned tax dollars.

Yes, we sent billions to bankroll this show. Egypt is the second biggest recipient of our foreign aid, and Egypt is on fire. We are pyromaniacs in this terrible drama.

Billions are sent there only to return here to purchase military hardware and bullets. We pay the salaries of strutting jerks with clicking heels who pull the triggers -- while at home Americans stand in line seeking jobs, food stamps and unemployment checks.

We, too, are jerks, and we need to fess up because there is blood on our hands. When we turn the TV off, we must remember that the show is still going on, and we are paying for it. This is not HBO.

How, then, can we confess and repent our bankrolling these atrocities? Easy. Cut out this letter and send copies to Sen. Angus King. This will remind him that he is perfectly positioned to help us both morally and financially.

As an independent employed by us, he can sidestep the usual political mumbo-jumbo and raise his voice on our behalf in the Senate to its maximum, demanding we send only humanitarian aid to Egypt. Let's paralyze their military by eliminating payday.

Richard C. Dillihunt, M.D.

Portland

Led by Portland cab driver, tour of city delights visitor

I want to tell you about a delightful afternoon that I spent in your town Aug. 17.

I had to wait for four hours at the Portland bus station to be picked up due to a delay. I asked a taxi driver to suggest ways to spend my time, and he said he did tours for a reasonable price.

It was most satisfactory. He took me to two lighthouses and all over your fair city, including the waterfront and all the main parts of interest.

His name is Iman Ali of Maine Green Taxi. I think he should do tours for a living -- he was that good.

Betty Butler

Corte Madera, Calif.

 

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