The Associated Press article on Cuban health care in the Aug. 26 Maine Sunday Telegram (“Cuba squeezed by health care costs”) is off base. Individual complaints of corruption, hoarding and overuse of services are used to suggest health care disaster.

It’s as if there aren’t complaints here of troubled doctor-patient relations, hospital mistakes and “can’t pay for care”; as if U.S. babies don’t die at a rate of 6.5 per 1,000 in their first year (more than 12 per 1,000 for African-American babies), compared to Cuba’s rate of 4.5 per 1,000; as if life expectancy here is any better than on the island.

Yet our system is the world’s most costly. Want to think about efficiency? Please allow for profiteering.

It’s as if:

Twenty-four thousand students from 116 countries aren’t presently studying medicine in Cuba at no personal cost.

There weren’t one doctor for every 148 Cubans (one for every 370 people in the U.S.).


Some 132,000 Cuban health workers haven’t served in 102 countries over 50 years.

Last year, Cuban and Venezuelan ophthalmologists didn’t perform 2 million sight-saving (mainly cataract) operations in 35 countries.

A total of 2,500 Cuban doctors and nurses weren’t working in Pakistan two weeks following the earthquake there in 2005 — and they stayed six months.

It’s as if Cuba’s money problems aren’t related to a U.S. blockade costing $1 trillion over 50 years.

And, lastly, it’s as if Cuba never had to fight off a U.S. assault best described by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lester D. Mallory in 1959:

“The majority of Cubans support Castro. (We need) a line of action that, if carried very cleverly and discreetly, would achieve major progress in denying Cuba money and supplies (and) thereby cause hunger, desperation and the collapse of the government.”


William T. Whitney, M.D.

South Paris

MDOT keeps wasting time, money on S. Bristol bridge

Livermore Falls townspeople no doubt are thrilled to receive a $400,000 state cash infusion; state Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, is disappointed he can’t get similar treatment for his townspeople. Yet quietly in South Bristol, a multimillion-dollar bridge and right of way improvement project moves forward.

When Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt was appointed, he promised improved efficiencies within the department.

The bridge design for Maine Department of Transportation Project No. 016750 has been in progress since 2000 (12 years), with multiple meetings, changes of designers from HNTB Corp. to CHA Inc., different recommendations, multiple changes of project management; an incredible waste of time and taxpayer money.


Adding insult to mismanagement, the design will destroy the character of an incredibly beautiful New England town: South Bristol, Maine. It is overdesigned and overkill. This design will devastate South Bristol’s tourist industry, impacting fishermen, handymen, restaurant owners, boatyards and B&Bs.

Please take a look at — a picture is worth a thousand words.

Tom Czyz


To boost deer population, try cutting down more trees

Deer herd decline (“Fewer hunters mean more Mainers feel economic pinch,” Aug. 22)?


After the controversy on clear cutting and the loss of the wood harvesting industry, maybe it’s time to “cut” a few trees, thus increasing feed opportunities for these deer herds.

Large forest growth contributes to the lack of deer. They need the smaller growth — tree huggers take note.

Judith Nelson Farrin


Hospital debt should be on agenda for special session

The state is once again not paying its MaineCare (Medicaid) bills, leaving hospitals around the state holding no-interest, unknown-maturity state paper to the tune of $150 million. The problem dates back to the King administration.


The unpaid debt to the hospitals is a violation of the Maine Constitution, specifically, the requirement for a balanced budget.

Three-plus years ago, Sen. Kevin Raye, then minority leader, submitted a bill to bond the unpaid hospital debt. Then-Attorney General Janet Mills ruled that the bill was unconstitutional because it violated the prohibition of borrowing to pay current expenses.

The unpaid debt is a current expense. It is not unexpected. The budget is out of balance. Gov. LePage has an obligation to call a special session to bring the budget in balance. Or we could just stay in denial and borrow some money for a Greek vacation.

Jon Reisman


Viewpoints diverge on need for voter ID requirement


Your editorial of Aug. 26 opposing voter ID is meritless (Our View, “Maine does not need a voter ID requirement”).

The right to vote in a democracy is a high privilege to be stringently guarded. The exposure of the likes of ACORN and its offshoots has shown the abuse of that privilege by the far left is rampant, not isolated.

It is not surprising to see a Donald Sussman-owned newspaper take a stand against voter ID.

There are plenty of community service groups available to see that anyone properly entitled to vote and who desires to vote can obtain a voter ID, whether they are elderly, poor, disabled or otherwise. All of the arguments as to other needs for a picture ID in our society are even more cogent regarding voter ID.

Why doesn’t the paper look harder at how to legitimately obtain an ID for someone entitled to and desirous of voting but handicapped in some way? It would help to put an end to the ACORNs of this country.

We need to know that every vote cast for candidates who have the right and the duty to wisely spend our tax dollars is valid. It is bad enough that with so many people on the federal dole that we now have a situation of “representation without taxation” in this country. But that is another subject.


Charles F. Krause

East Boothbay

The rules and regulations followed by those in charge of voting are intelligent, clear and fair. Republicans and Democrats are equally involved in the whole process.

A voter states their name, their name is checked off and they are given a ballot. Why and how would someone give another person’s name?

If the name is not on the list, they need to see the town manager or go to City Hall.

If an individual has been voting for 20, 30, 40, 50 or more years, why should they be told they now need a photo ID?


Early or “absentee” voting is by paper ballot. These ballots need to be opened and the name checked off. The ballots are not looked at until they are counted with all the other ballots.

The process of opening them does take time, which is why those in charge have asked to have early voting end the Friday before a Tuesday election.

I believe more credit should be given to the honest and efficient work that is done by all the people who take charge of the very important job of running our elections.

Nancy Willard

Bryant Pond

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