Oppose L.D. 150
In reference to L.D. 150, An Act To Require Drug Testing for Medicaid Recipients With Prescriptions For Scheduled Drugs.
The state of Maine is facing a crisis when it comes to the addiction of pain medications. However, to select only those recipients of Medicaid to undergo drug testing sends out a strong message that those persons with means to pay for other health care must not be overusing or abusing their prescribed drugs. Thus adding to the stigma that poverty is the root cause of abuse and overuse of prescribed medications and more alarming, this bill could possibly decrease the availability of medical providers now willing to accept Medicaid for payment and prescribe much needed pain medications.
The state is right to be concerned with the abuse and addiction to prescribed scheduled drugs. However, should we not place any responsibility on the medical providers prescribing these scheduled drugs to their patients? I would argue that the medical providers do have a responsibility, if not liability, to ensure their patients are receiving the best care possible.
This bill leaves out a very critical piece, and that is who will be footing the bill for all of this drug testing.
I am urging the state of Maine to oppose L.D. 150 and place the responsibility back where it belongs with the medical health professionals already required to practice under the model of safety and effectively provide the best care for ALL their patients.
• • •
Logging jobs for Maine workers
The Bangor Daily News published a story on April 12 by Kevin Miller, “Senate nixes penalties for hiring Canadian loggers,” on the debate in the Maine Senate on a bill to prohibit landowners who use foreign laborers in their harvesting operations from taking advantage of Maine’s popular Tree Growth Tax relief program (a program I sponsored decades ago to offer sizable tax breaks for land managed for timber). This program was designed to keep Maine jobs in Maine.
The story focused on the Senate debate, but I believe it is crucial that your readers know what happened on the House floor the following day when this bill was debated. Republicans in the Maine House voted against the measure. They sent a strong message to loggers in the Maine woods: Your jobs should go to Canadians. In fact, Republican Rep. Peter Rioux of Winterport stood up in the House Chamber and said, “Employers favor Canadian workers in the woods because, frankly, they’re more productive.” He continued, “They work harder. They complain less.”
Maine has a national reputation for having one of the most highly productive workforces in the country. If Maine loggers want to work in the Maine woods, they should have a priority over foreign labor.
Maine taxpayer dollars should not be going to those who export both jobs and wood to Canada when so many Maine loggers are out of work.
It is a travesty that we can’t enact legislation in Maine to make jobs for Maine people.
Rep. John L. Martin
• • •
Stand up for rights
I grew up with the misunderstanding that all women in the United States had the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. Since abortion is legal, I assumed it was accessible. How wrong I was. Since 1973, when abortion became legal in the U.S., state and federal laws have been passed to severely restrict abortion access. In addition 87 percent of counties in the U.S. do not have abortion providers due to threats of harassment and violence. Without access to abortion and without abortion providers, the constitutional right is meaningless.
I know women who have carried pregnancies to term because they couldn’t afford abortions. I’ve heard stories of women choosing between paying rent or getting an abortion; some risk their lives trying to self-abort. This is unacceptable. Abortion is one of the safest and most common medical procedures done in the U.S., and yet women are dying.
We should be moving forward. In Maine, we should be expanding access by allowing Nurse Practitioners to perform abortion and demanding MaineCare funding for abortions. Instead we are moving backwards. In Maine alone there are five proposed anti-choice bills that if passed will restrict access to reproductive health care. Similar bills — about 300 — are being proposed nationwide.
There is a clear goal to restrict abortion until it is virtually unattainable. We are facing the biggest attack on women’s rights in my lifetime. It is time to stand up for our rights and the rights of all people.
• • •
Support small business
I would like to see some grant money for small businesses for the purpose of hiring and training new workers. I feel this way the small businesses would benefit as well as the employees.
The U.S. gives away more money to other countries, and the money could be used here at home for more training and helping start-up businesses. I would also like to see grant money for our vets who served our country and are just starting out in business.
• • •
Vote Yes on May 4
Bangor is my home. And I am proud to live here. I realize the many opportunities Bangor offers me — we have endless outdoor recreational options, from hiking and biking to skiing and snowmobiling, within a very short drive. We have museums, theater, universities and libraries all within the city limits. And there are many qualities of Bangor that make it feel like both a big city and a small town at the same time.
But one excuse I hear from friends of mine who move away is that “there’s nothing to do here.” I always ask what that means, and the answer inevitably relates to entertainment options. Some of that discussion has decreased with the popularity of the Waterfront Concert Series, but a year-round, modern arena is sorely needed to keep young people from leaving home.
Jobs and new forms of entertainment would be created immediately with a new arena. It would also allow for much more comfortable seating to watch athletic events, including our beloved high school basketball tournaments.
Despite what we constantly hear, keeping “young people” here is not just about jobs. It’s about opportunities: opportunities for employment, opportunities for recreation, opportunities for quality of life and opportunities for entertainment. Bangor has nearly every piece of this puzzle … let’s complete it with a “yes” vote on May 4 and keep people my age in this wonderful area I call “home.”