Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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Nick Nicholson with Homeless Voices for Justice stands near pads homeless people sleep on in shelters during a vigil Monday at Portland City Hall.
2012 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski
Calculating the return on investment in public infrastructure is tricky.
Take the new Veterans Memorial Bridge across the Fore River. Let's see, $65 million divided by 22,000 vehicles per day, times 365 days per year, times how much toll per vehicle? Oops, there's no toll on the bridge -- looks like we'll never recoup that investment.
By that measure, the bridge was a complete waste of money. (At least the Downeaster generates some revenue!)
And I don't expect ever to receive a nickel in cash back from the Portland Jetport, either, on the $75 million spent over the last couple of years on renovations there. Should that money have been spent elsewhere, too?
Public infrastructure pays for itself indirectly and intangibly as well as in countable beans. That very indirectness is why certain initiatives are undertaken by the public sector instead of by private business, which requires an immediate bottom-line cash return. Just what is the dollars-and-cents payback for making available safe, dependable, energy-efficient, weather-resistant, disabled-accessible rail transportation?
Critic misrepresents impact of Maine care reform bill
Steven Kelley's letter to the editor in the Nov. 11 edition ("Maine care reform bill paved way for insurers' instrusions") is typical of the misinformation bandied about regarding PL 90, Maine's health care reform bill passed in the last Legislature.
Mr. Kelley's partner is employed at Maine Medical Center, where she was required to complete a health assessment to renew her coverage with their self-funded medical program. This has absolutely nothing to do with PL 90 -- employers have been able to require health assessments for many years. The two have nothing to do with one another.
PL 90 merely addressed the rating factors insurers could use to price insurance in Maine. Younger and southern Maine residents have been unfairly subsidizing northern Maine residents for almost 20 years.
Certain sections of the state now pay a more accurate rate for insurance that reflect their region's health care costs, which is fair to every Mainer. Maybe now people will decide where to live based on this factor as well as school system, taxes, etc.
Talk to your local health insurance agent if you have any questions regarding PL 90. With so much misinformation around, I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear how good the bill really is for Maine.
president, Maine Association of Health Underwriters
director of sales, group insurance, Baystate Financial Advisors