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Nov. 16 Letters to the Editor

Treatment needed

I welcome the BDN’s support (“Mental Health Deficit,” Nov. 10) of the assisted treatment legislation currently being considered in Augusta. As a former crisis worker in rural Maine, I can testify that it is needed, and that those who object to it have, in my mind, a very perverse notion of civil rights.

Without this legislation, the killings will continue unchecked without any resource available to family and friends. Thanks for your endorsement.

Jonathan Brown



New terminology

The issue of same-sex marriage, unlike a vampire whose heart has been pierced by a stake, will not die until both sides reach agreement on new terminology. Those who expressed their opposition thereto continue to be branded bigots and homophobes.

Thirty-one of 36 states have voted no on same-sex marriage. On Nov. 3, Maine joined a crowded field of other like-minded Americans. Five venues in which same-sex couples can get hitched are available. I don’t believe that opponents of same-sex marriage will take special pains to physically constrain matrimonially inclined gays and lesbians to the confines of Maine and thereby prevent their emigration to New Hampshire, Massachusetts, etc.

Rather than hectoring traditionalists and convention minded Mainers and denouncing their position on an issue of choice, same-sex marriage advocates might be sensitive rather than harsh and seek a mutually agreeable solution which does not invalidate a time-honored, well-established, universally accepted definition of marriage.

If words have meaning, then “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron, according to Webster. Stop beating word purists on the head with inconsistent terminology. Enough with the “marriage” already! Instead, coin a description which establishes a state-institution whereby a man and man-woman and woman are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.

Here’s one opponent of same- sex marriage who would have no problem with such an arrangement. Go to it, wordsmiths!

Ron Goldstone



Small-business relief

I am owner of one of the small businesses featured recently in a full-page ad in the Bangor Daily News. The ad was an open letter on health care reform addressed to Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

In that letter, I and several hundred other Maine small businesses pointed out the difficulty we face providing ourselves and any employees with health insurance under the current system. We urged the senators to back reform that levels the playing field for small business, giving us the same access to quality, affordable health care enjoyed by larger companies.

In responding to our concerns, Sens. Collins and Snowe have a model to follow: the health-care reform bill recently passed by the House, with the support of Maine’s two representatives. This bill would: allow small businesses to shop for insurance at large-group rates on new exchanges, where benefits and costs among competing plans could be easily compared; outlaw discriminatory pricing and underwriting by insurance companies; and give tax credits to help those businesses unable to cover the full costs of premiums.

And while all the small-business owners I know would like to purchase health insurance for themselves and any employees, under the House bill the vast majority of them would not be required to.

I hope Sens. Collins and Snowe saw our ad and will heed the request of Maine small business for health-care relief.

Steve Roiphe



Time for health care bill

In a recent full page ad in the BDN, 200 small businesses, the backbone of Maine’s economy, implored the Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to help us provide health insurance for ourselves, our families and any employees – a nearly impossible feat under the current system.

But it will become very possible if the Senate adopts reform along the lines of a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives, a bill supported by our Congressman, Mike Michaud. It would allow small businesses to buy insurance at large-group rates, end discrimination in underwriting, and provide subsidies to help with premiums.

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber recently estimated in Congressional testimony that the House bill would save small businesses $65 billion a year over the next decade. That’s money that can be used to expand operations and hire workers, all in our local communities.

I hope our senators will hear the concerted voices of hundreds of Maine small businesses calling for health insurance reform, and respond with prompt action.

Bethany Reynolds



Uninsured and happy

I am a small business owner in Ellsworth. I am also a proud husband of a registered nurse and father of three daughters. Our family is one of the (sometimes) reported 47 million uninsured Americans, and that is how we like it.

We have the opportunity to purchase health insurance and choose not to. The last time I checked, we still had freedom in America. Being uninsured has proven to be rather liberating in many ways.

Our discussions with our physicians are actual discussions. Now we actually are empowered to say when and where we have procedures done, ask what procedures are necessary and what they cost. Every time we ask that last question, we have received the answer, “We don’t know, but we’ll have to find out.” We do not need referrals for other services. We do not need to follow policies and procedures of inefficient bureaucracies. Lastly, we pay for the services we receive, because we agreed to have those services performed.

My wife had surgery three years ago while we were uninsured, and we paid our bill by negotiating a payment plan with the hospital. The hospital seemed quite pleased about the outcome.

Lately Speaker Pelosi has said publicly that it is acceptable for those who do not want to pay their “fair share” of the health care system to be fined or imprisoned. I ask Speaker Pelosi, what’s more fair than the 100 percent my family pays?

Doug Springer


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