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June 25, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Whose ‘special rights’?

In what way can the granting of equal marriage rights to same-sex couples be described as the granting of “special rights”? Special rights implies that we are allowing a group access to something that others do not have access to. The fact is that heterosexual couples currently have “special rights” that are denied to committed same-sex couples. Our Legislature has simply acted to provide equal access; this is, in fact, one of the principles upon which our nation was founded.

Equal access to the commitments, responsibilities and protections of marriage will strengthen our society.

David Brass


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Don’t cave in

It appears the so-called reform of health care is turning into one more cave-in on the part of Congress. The pharmaceutical and insurance industries know that they cannot compete with a single-payer system that spends its money on health care and not on profits.

More than 72 percent of the people of this country and more than 59 percent of doctors and nurses want a single-payer system. Our president and leaders of both the House and Senate have said that a single-payer system is the best way to fix our failed system — but apparently we can’t get there from here.

Tell your elected officials that you will not stand for a continuation of our failed system. Too many people are not getting needed care and we spend too much for a system that compares poorly with health care around the world. We rank 37th for quality of health and health services, 46th in life span and 39th in infant mortality despite spending more than twice as much as any other country.

We have examples of good health care systems in the Veterans Administration and Medicare and we know we can hold our elected representatives accountable when there are problems. Who can you go to when your insurance company refuses to cover your medical emergency?

We need single payer now.

Lucy Witt


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Follow the money

George Tassel, in his June 18 BDN OpEd, efficiently dispels the notion that the U.S. health care system is one of the best in the world and argues convincingly that we need a single-payer, universal health care system. However, it should be noted that President Johnson, not Roosevelt, gave us Medicare.

Unfortunately, all plans for change now supported by most of Congress and by Barack Obama focus on retaining the private health and drug insurance system — despite the profoundly inadequate service provided by that system, which has dragged the U.S. down to 37th in the world in health care quality.

The health industry, desperately afraid that a universal single-payer system would be its death knell, spends untold millions on advertising and on lobbying Congress to whip up irrational fear that a single-payer system, such as Medicare now is, would be “socialism.” This claim was also made by the American Medical Association and Ronald Reagan in the 1960s to try to prevent the institution of Medicare.

The private health care system funnels vast sums into investor dividends, high executive pay and bonuses, advertising, and lobbyists.

Doctors must hire bloated office staffs to deal with the massive and byzantine paperwork generated by claims to many different insurance companies. The latter reward their workers on how many claims they can reject, not on how well their clients are served.

Let there be no doubt: a universal health care system is the best way to fix our present, broken one.

Gene Clifford

Southwest Harbor

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Consolidation savings

I have no doubt you consider my various attempts, during the past period of more than 12 months, either quixotic or ill-conceived. However the BDN’s June 23 editorial, “Schools: Carrot or Stick?,” contains the kernel of my rationale for dismissing the so-called School Consolidation Law benefits to the education of the state’s students.

The key to what I believe is a consistent misconception, not only on the part of the BDN’s editorial page, but also a major section of the Legislature, is in the editorial’s statement that: “The state could do more to explain the benefits of consolidation — less money spent on administration so more can go to the classroom.” The part of the sentence, after the hyphen, was never included by the Department of Education within its promotion of the law.

Look back and you will find the prime purpose of the bill was the forecast “saving” of $36.5 million to the state. That’s it! That’s all of it.

’Nough said.

Robert C. Dick


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