September 7, 2013

Letters to the editor: It's not too late to expand MaineCare

Maine recently received a $33 million federal grant to improve efficiency and service in Medicare, Medicaid and the private health care market -- an important step.

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Accepting federal funds to expand eligibility for MaineCare would have helped more than 16,000 Mainers age 50 to 64, says AARP Maine’s volunteer state president.

Another way to improve access to affordable health care is through Medicaid expansion. 

Thousands of Americans have lost their jobs and cannot afford health insurance or are working in jobs without health benefits.

Expanding affordable health coverage in 2013 through the Affordable Care Act would have helped more than 16,000 Mainers age 50 to 64 who find themselves in this situation and who do not qualify for Medicaid health coverage.

Unfortunately, our Legislature couldn't garner enough votes to override the governor's veto of Medicaid expansion.

The ACA expands health coverage options, just one element of the law that would give people without insurance access to preventive and primary care. Over time, expanding affordable health coverage would keep costs down across the entire health care system.

Even the conservative Heritage Foundation published a report stating that Maine would save almost $700 million through this measure.

It's common sense: If there is a way to help residents get back on their feet after losing their jobs, the state should take advantage of that opportunity. 

Maine missed the initial chance in 2013 to accept millions of dollars in federal funds to offer residents health insurance as well as reduce hospital debt and charity care.

We urge our elected leaders to do the right thing in 2014 and expand health care coverage for hardworking Mainers.

Rich Livingston

volunteer state president, AARP Maine


Common Core standards give away too much power

The Common Core is an evolutionary model for what every totalitarian regime craves: the power to "re-educate."

It purports, along with the aligned 21st Century Learning initiative, to produce "global citizens."

Remember, there is no such thing as a global constitution.

There is a United States Constitution.

There is no such thing as a "global" concept of the intrinsic and inalienable freedom and dignity of every human being.

There are time-tested and proven Judeo-Christian, Western and Enlightenment notions that inspire and guide our American republic.

To me, "globalism" is about inculcating a new self-identity into each student, with little reference to their American citizenship or Western heritage.

This is, of course, a conservative's opinion. No doubt, if educational institutions at all levels were dominated by traditionalists, secular-progressives would find much to criticize.

My opposition to Common Core is not ideological. I oppose it, and the rest of the reform movement, because it concentrates too much power in the hands of too few decision-makers.

No one should be entrusted with the power to shape every young American mind -- neither an Obama nor a Bush.

The very decentralization of American education has been a guarantor of our ongoing freedom.

It is true that the 50 state governments are each more involved with funding and decision-making than they ideally should be. Local school boards should run local schools.

But 50 state governments running education are infinitely preferable to a doctrinaire orthodox uniformity originating in Washington.

This issue is neither liberal-progressive nor conservative-libertarian. It pits those who trust the federal government to mold the consciousness of every American student against anyone who suspects that such centralized power might be corrupted into an instrument of propaganda.

Brainwashing is always a horror, no matter the ideology.

Ralph K. Ginorio


Kesich presents solid case against Syrian intervention

It is not often that I find myself in complete agreement with Greg Kesich, but his Sept. 4 commentary, "Too many questions behind Syrian intervention," was spot on.

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