July 2 Letters to the Editor

Posted July 01, 2009, at 6:28 p.m.

Health care debate

I am writing to express my appreciation of Sen. Olympia Snowe’s support of a public option in health care reform. This is a historic opportunity for change, and we should ensure that it is not lost. However, I was disturbed at the tone of the conversation in Washington, particularly around the issue of affordability.

Sen. Snowe stated that, “We [the government] will decide what is ‘affordable’” for Americans, and Sen. Susan Collins stated that uninsured people who make $75,000 per year are uninsured “by choice.” The idea that government and industry lobbyists will decide how much money I have to give to a private insurer disturbs me, as does the suggestion that the senators can judge a family’s entire financial situation entirely by looking at their income.

What if that $75,000 supports a family of five? An individual with a terminal illness or a child with special needs? What if that person has a pre-existing condition and has been turned down by all insurance companies?

What if the person is paying off massive student loan debt? I fear that such superficial, unsupported and judgmental assessments of the average American’s financial situation will derail this historic legislation.

Health care should be a human right, not a commodity that we are forced to purchase at set prices from Washington’s highest rolling campaign contributors. I hope that Sen. Snowe continues to show her special brand of moderation and leadership by doing the right thing and fighting for a public option for Americans.

Victoria Wilson

Port Clyde

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Jackson’s tortured soul

When I heard of Michael Jackson’s passing, my first reaction was one of relief. He had become the most tortured soul of our time and his shame was always painful to witness. The bizarre plastic surgeries. His predilection for young children. As I watched the various video clips I couldn’t help but be disgusted by his constant gripping and squeezing of his genitals.

They are praising him and calling him the King of Pop. His death like his life has become a circus. America tends to worship its stars regardless of what they may do. All his sins are forgiven and his dangerous behavior with children has been minimized. Fodder for the lunatic fringe.

He was not unique; there are plenty of superstars in Hollywood. The fact that his behavior was acceptable is, though. His legacy will be one of a great talent who broke all the records and was persecuted for his eccentric behavior. Some of us see through the hype and madness and see Mr. Jackson quite clearly — a very sick man who died from drug abuse and neglect.

He is not the King of Pop. He is dead.

Mark McClellan

Bangor

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Single-payer forum

The recent WERU community radio-sponsored health care reform forum, at Bucksport’s historic Alamo Theatre was aptly titled, “Single Payer: Fact vs. Fiction.” We heard solid facts from panelists Jerry Call, co-founder of Midcoast Health Care Reform, and health policy expert Dr. Phil Caper of the “affirmative” team.

They defined single payer as a publicly funded, privately delivered national health care system, one which guarantees to all Americans access to all necessary care, without co-pays or deductibles, and freedom of choice in selecting your doctors and hospitals. The reason it would work, and why it is the best economic choice — everyone would pay a small percentage of their income into a national health fund — at least a third less than what we pay today, those of us who can afford insurance — and in turn, the fund would pay providers fair and mutually agreed upon amounts for services provided.

It would be administered by an independent, federally chartered board, similar to Medicare; in fact, some envision improving and expanding Medicare as the solution.

We also heard plenty of fiction and fear messages from the “negative” team of Tarren Bragdon of the Maine Heritage Policy Center and Joel Allumbaugh of the Maine Association of Health Underwriters.

Repeatedly, they invoked the false claim that “some government bureaucrat” would come between you and your doctor once single payer became reality.

The fact that today insurance companies employ thousands of their own bureaucrats whose job is to deny your health claims was never mentioned.

I think we can do better both as individuals and as a nation.

Joe Lendvai

Brooklin

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