July 5, 2013

Letters to the editor: Local food still consumers' safest bet

(Continued from page 1)

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The possibility that the bistro Petite Jacqueline was a source of food-borne illness should not overshadow the fact that consumers face a far bigger threat from mass-produced food, a reader says.

2011 File Photo/Derek Davis

James Maguire

North Yarmouth

Expansion would have aided many hardworking Mainers

The failure to override Gov. LePage's veto of Medicaid expansion was a sad moment in Maine's political history. Thousands of individuals caught in the crossfire of this battle no longer carry the hope that they will have access to basic health care coverage.

Throughout the contentious debate, the rhetoric was that MaineCare is "welfare." This is simply untrue. Thousands of individuals who would have been eligible for MaineCare are hardworking Mainers in low-wage-earning jobs where health insurance is not available.

Potentially eligible recipients also include individuals with disabilities who are unable to work a full 40-hour week and are therefore ineligible to qualify for employer-provided benefits.

Other individuals have spent countless years in the employment sector but, due to health or disability-related reasons, are no longer able to continue working.

To be deemed eligible to receive Social Security Disability Income, individuals are required to show, among other things, that they have the requisite work history.

When awarded SSDI, individuals also become eligible for Medicare; however, they must wait 24 months from their benefit start date before coverage begins. As a result, individuals with serious medical conditions and disabilities are forced to go without much-needed health care coverage.

In order to appeal to the opposition, Maine's proposed legislation would have only approved expansion through the next three years -- the period for which the federal government is funding 100 percent of the cost. If Washington failed to follow through on its promise, Maine left open the possibility of scaling back its expansion efforts.

Unfortunately, this was not enough, and now thousands of individuals with disabilities in Maine have been denied the opportunity for health insurance coverage, which so many of us take for granted.

Sara R. Squires

public affairs director, Disability Rights Center of Maine

Augusta

New slogan summarizes panhandlers' view of city

Re: "Portland unveils new city slogan" (June 18):

In a recent discussion with a friend about Portland's panhandling problems, she informed me her brother is a social service provider in Athens, Ga.

He had just called to tell her that a number of his clients were heading up to Portland, Maine, because the word was out: "Life's good here."

Jay York

Portland

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