Corporate greed wins
The drug industry drove a stake into the heart of health care reform when it got the Obama administration to drop a pillar of reform: the govern-ment’s ability to negotiate drug prices.
Because of Big Pharma’s power, Medicare Part D explicitly forbids the government from negotiating for lower prices.
Health care costs are sky-rocketing in part because of exorbitant profits of the drug industry. Caving to Big Pharma may have seemed necessary to get a health care reform bill passed, but the consequences will harm every citizen who needs medications.
People who own drug company stock will get change they can believe in. The rest of us simply get another lesson in corporate greed and government by lobbyists.
Fox News reported Aug. 18 that the student body president of Pace High School was refused her right to speak to the student body because they were afraid she was going to mention God in her speech. Where has our freedom gone? This is the first time in 33 years that the student body president at that school has not been allowed to speak to the assembly.
The ACLU, which had a hand in this, seems to be concerned about everyone’s rights except those of Christians. I, for one, am fed up with the ACLU and our government denying the rights of Christians to coddle those who are not, when they are in the minority.
I am amazed at the BDN’s disingenuous and misleading editorial “The Roots of Anger.” It seems like the writer forgot about the mainstream media mischief in the last election or even today. Or forgot about the eggs thrown at Bush of the “impeach Bush” signs and bumper stickers and signs, etc. by the Left Wing. Or forgot about Mr. Obama misstating facts, or the 52 promises he made in the campaign, most of which he has reneged upon.
Or Pelosi, calling the display of resistance “un-American.”
That’s why the American people are angry. It’s got little to do with what the editorial implies, which is right wing hysteria.
Obama is exactly what I said before the election: the most ill-equipped presidential candi-date ever. He doesn’t know what he is doing and he dis-plays it every day, with constantly changing messages and directives, almost hourly. Citi-zens see it and feel it, and are concerned that the nation is adrift. That’s what those events are really displaying. Nothing else.
What’s the difference be-tween Fox News and the New York Times? Fox sponsored a Tea Party, sure, and the New York Times sponsors Mr. Krugman or Mr. Herbert, or Frank Rich, men who really are almost vile in their attempts to victimize anyone who doesn’t think like they do — once I counted 65 hate Bush charac-terizations and innuendoes in a single issue of the Times.
Go independent, Peter
As the race for the Blaine House takes shape, the most vexing mystery is why Peter Mills has not yet left the Republican Party to run as an inde-pendent. At this juncture four years ago, many were asking the same question.
Facing a Republican Party that coaxes the most ardent right wing extremists out from under their rocks to vote in the primary, Mills lost the Republican nomination four years ago for precisely the reasons why he so threatened John Baldacci’s re-election bid. The competent, centrist, sober and measured Mills did not give the far right of the Maine Republican Party the red meat they desired, so they nominated the ultraconservative Chandler Woodcock instead and guaranteed themselves a loss.
Now, the same far right extremists who voted for Wood-cock over Mills are claiming that Mills isn’t a “real Republican.” Many of these Republi-cans also claim President Obama is not a “real” American, play “tea party” games, and liken the president to Hitler.
Last election many Democrats and independents might have crossed party lines to vote for Mills. Not this time. If Mills manages to win the nomination, Democrats who are disgusted with the behavior of Republicans over a host of issues would not vote for him.
If Mills runs as a Republican, it will be assumed he feels a deep affinity for that party. As such, few Democrats would validate that extremist right wing party with a vote, having seen the divisive, irrational, anti-middle class actions of Republicans.
This is incredible yet it has happened. The Maine Department of Environmental Protec-tion has twice rejected the applications of Anthony and Erin Uliano to construct a noncommercial pier on their shore property at Salisbury Cove, on Mount Desert Island. And now the Maine Supreme Court has denied the Ulianos’ appeal from the DEP’s rejection (BDN, Aug. 19).
The DEP has done this on the flimsy grounds that the pier would adversely affect the scenic and aesthetic qualities of eastern bay between MDI, Lamoine and Trenton. To his great credit, Justice Donald Alexander dissented from the Law Court’s 4-1 decision. In part, he wrote: “if this proposal can be rejected on this basis (scenic and aesthetic qualities), then any alteration of existing shorefront, lakefront or river-front can be similarly rejected.”
The DEP’s action also ac-counts to an uncompensated partial taking of the Ulianos’ property in the intertidal zone where the pier would be built. State government represents no public interest there except for “fishing and fowling,” in accordance with applicable Colonial statutes.
One hopes the Ulianos and their lawyers can find a way to reverse this latest miscarriage of justice by a Maine court.
Carle G. Gray
Rx drug control
Last year in Maine, ap-proximately 160 deaths were attributed to the abuse of prescription narcotics; more than 300 infants were born addicted to controlled substances; and the abuse of these narcotics is the number one reason criminals give for committing crime. So why, in our state, are rates of prescription abuse so very high? The bigger question is what is being done to prevent and control this substance-abuse issue in our state.
While little can be done to prevent the sale of these prescriptions on the street, some-thing can be done to control the amounts prescribed to the individuals seeking them. Reviewing prescription history through a prescription monitoring program on the Maine government Web site allows doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists to register and review patients’ histories with controlled substances. Using this resource could provide professionals in the field with important information about patients before prescriptions for controlled substances are written.
Yet, while the Web site is readily available, only 40 per-cent of medical doctors are registered and only 20 percent of physicians’ assistants and 11 percent of pharmacists. Over-all, in Maine around 1,200 providers are registered for the program.
If Maine residents can voice concern and encourage a standard to be set for prescribing controlled substances, awareness of this issue would expand and lay the framework for a society that is advocating for prevention concerning prescription narcotics.
A simple solution
Let’s build on what works!
America invented Medicare; it is uniquely American. It is a proven, well-liked and efficient system. So why not just expand it so the rest of us can enjoy it?
If seniors feel they need to supplement what Medicare doesn’t cover, they go out and buy it from private insurance companies. So why can’t the rest of us do the same? Why do we have to create a whole new unproven system like a “health care exchange” or “public option”?
The old saying, “KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid,” is what is missing in the current health care reform debate.
We don’t need an incomprehensible 1,017-page health care reform plan like Congress’ HR 3200, which they can’t even ex-plain to their constituents.
I think most people would agree that if Medicare is good enough for our parents and grandparents, it’s good enough for us. So, I propose the follow-ing health care reform bill, which will meet the primary objectives for reform — affordable, universal, sustainable and equitable.
The KISS Healthcare Reform Act: Change every reference to the “age 65” in Medicare to read “age 0″; change the 2.8 percent Medicare funding in FICA to 9.9 percent; changes take effect January 2011.
Medicare is not perfect, but it’s a great place to start. We can work on improving it later as a separate issue.
Get back to work
We’ve got President Obama going on a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard during a time where top U.S. military officer Adm. Mike Mullen said the war in Afghanistan is getting serious and deteriorating. If George Bush were still in office the media would be slamming him for being at his ranch in Texas. And you wonder why people call it a left liberal media.
It’s time the new Commander in Chief strip off his swimsuit, get back in office and get to work as what he once called the more important war than Iraq.