Tuesday, September 8, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted Sept. 07, 2009, at 6:50 p.m.

Morality of health care

It is a moral, not a political, issue when we fail to provide universal, affordable health care to all of our citizens.

Denying those less fortunate — economically or by virtue of existing health conditions — the health benefits available to others is unconscionable.

It is despicable that our government continues spending billions killing people overseas in a war concocted of outright lies, but denies funding for universal health care for our own citizens here at home.

It is unforgivable that we allow right wing fanatics to skew the negotiating process by lying about and distorting the details of health care reform. Government run, single-payer health care (“Medicare for all”) covering young and old, rich and poor, healthy and ill, will save money and provide quality affordable health care for all. Eliminating the profit motive will reduce the 30 percent cost of overhead currently enriching health insurance companies’ executives and share holders to 3 percent. It will eliminate the denial of claims on those with pre-existing conditions, guarantee the retention of choice of one’s own physician and of one’s own insurance carrier.

Lies contradicting and distorting those truths are perpetrated by those fearing the loss of outrageous profits and salaries, and by those duped by them into believing those lies.

It is time to recognize the immorality of anything less than universal, quality, affordable health care. We must speak up, respond to the obstructionists, demand truth and courage from our senators and representatives. Shame on all of us if we fail to do so.

Dan Lourie

Bar Harbor

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No ‘pay to play’

As with many sectors of the economy, local broadcast stations are struggling. Ad revenues have plummeted and jobs have been cut. Now, the major record labels, three out of four of which are based overseas, are asking Congress to impose hundreds of millions of dollars in music-performance fees on radio stations to bail out their failing business model.

The labels argue the performance-fee money is for “struggling artists,” but in truth, at least 50 percent of it would be funneled to the labels themselves. If it weren’t for radio airplay of music, where would labels and performers be?

Radio is the No. 1 way listeners discover new music. Free radio airtime generates more than $1.5 billion annually for labels and artists.

If enacted, a performance fee could force Maine radio stations to cut even more jobs, and to reduce their fundraising and public service initiatives for local charities throughout the state — all to benefit the record industry moguls. We are grateful that our federal representatives have championed free local radio and the communities we serve by opposing this new fee.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Rep. Mike Michaud are co-sponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act, which would keep radio free from these ridiculous fees. With their help, we can work to keep jobs in our community, protect our nonprofit organizations, and keep free radio free.

Suzanne Goucher

president and CEO

Maine Association of Broadcasters

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Bill not the answer

A health care bill that would include all Americans would be great.

Everyone would be in favor of it, but instead it will include abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood. Sen. Orin Hatch was rebuffed when he asked to add language to not including funding for abortion, and his amendment was defeated in committee. The bill certainly will not be healthy for the unborn.

Also, because one quarter of all Medicare payments are in the last year of life, costing the government more than $100 billion, seniors will be offered counseling sessions about end of life care every five years or more if sick or in a nursing home. The sessions cover whether to receive antibiotics and the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.

The principal impact of Obama’s health care plan will reduce the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medication be prescribed, every medical procedure authorized and all they need to improve the quality of life answered. To contain costs it will target the elderly, the unborn and the disabled.

We need a bill but not this one.

Tom Coleman Sr.

Dedham

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Do the fair, right thing

Voters cast ballots for people we feel will do what is right to further our interests. Whether or not the person we voted for wins, we should certainly respect the person who is elected and respect the office as well.

This principle holds for president, governor or any other elected office.

That being said, whether the elected official is Republican, Democrat, or independent, he or she has a responsibility to all constituents to do the right thing.

In May when Gov. Baldacci signed the gay marriage bill he said he did so because it was the fair thing. David Farmer, the governor’s spokesman, quoted in the Sept. 2 BDN on the gay marriage fundraiser, quotes Gov. Baldacci, saying, “ultimately, this comes down to people being treated fairly.”

In the Sept. 3 issue of the BDN, Jesse Connolly of NO on 1, speaking on the gay marriage repeal referendum, says he wants voters to be fair-minded. Also in that issue of the paper, Gov. Baldacci was quoted as saying “I am confident that Maine voters will make the right decision when they cast their vote.”

Gov. Baldacci has thus far done what he thinks is the fair thing. He now turns to the voter and asks us to do the right thing. I can only hope the voters grant his request and stand up and do the right thing at the voting booth and repeal the gay marriage law.

Daylan Parks

Corinna

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