Action without facts
LD 1333 proposes huge changes that could undermine our current health care and consumer protection laws. Unfortunately, the Legislature is being asked to vote on this without a current, non-partisan, actuarial study by the Maine Bureau of Insurance (MBI). Without that MBI study Maine voters are as uninformed as our Legislature.
Why is the MBI silent? It cannot act without a request from the governor or the Insurance and Financial Services Committee. Neither the Legislature, nor the governor, nor the voters can make an informed decision on this major health insurance overhaul without the MBI’s expert, non-partisan, analysis. Doing this type of analysis is one of the most important functions of the MBI.
In 2007 the MBI did a study on some of the proposed changes found in LD 1333. It found that the changes would raise rates for rural and older (40 and older) Mainers. This is the type of information we all need before we make a decision. However, in 2011, this 2007 study is obviously outdated.
Would you buy a home in 2011 based on a 2007 partial home inspection that showed some problems or would you demand a a brand new complete report? The Republican majority of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee should demand a “full home inspection” by the MBI of LD1333 before risking the health, finances, and very lives of Maine citizens.
Donna Mae Karlson, LCSW
• • •
As we enter the state on I-95 we see the billboard which touts, “Maine, the way life should be.” As someone who lived most of my life in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, where billboards are more prevalent than white tail deer, I can attest to the fact that billboards are not something we need.
Billboards are the highest form of visual pollution. Say goodbye to our beautiful scenery. However, one legislator thinks this is a great idea.
Another legislator thinks increasing the speed limit above Old Town on I-95 to 75 mph is another fantastic idea. He claims that one out of 10 people he spoke to while campaigning wants it, so why not have it? One out of ten?
So what if most of the people are already exceeding the 65 mph limit. Arrest them all. They are breaking the law! This is a far more sensible source of income for the state to fix the roads than selling space on billboards.
In Augusta one guy decides to move a mural depicting the history of labor in Maine. That the guy is the governor might give him a little more clout than most, but still, one person is a long way from a majority.
The Founding Fathers had an idea that, “of the people, by the people, for the people and the will of the majority shall prevail” might not be a bad way to do things. Now it would appear this premise has been turned upside down and for most common sense issues the will of the minority is the way to go.
• • •
Should we feel guilty or stupid if we want to live comfortably? I believe there is oil out there to take care of at least the next couple hundred years even if we do drive cars that go uphill happily.
I believe we should be reasonably conservative in our use of energy. On the other hand, my son has nine children. They will not fit in a Honda.
Oil prices right now are not due to a shortage of oil or any threat of shortage any time soon. Prices are manufactured by our government to control our choices. Big Uncle is always seeking to increase his power over us. Did not the great uncle himself say we are too warm in the winter and too cool in the summer and eat too well? He is using his power to change that.
Let the wind blow and the sun shine and development go ahead but those things are not ready to supply us the power we need. Quit blaming us. Open American oil fields, bring the prices down.
I drive a 1990 diesel Jetta (40 mpg) and I feel oppressed by these gas prices. Buying Hondas is not the solution. I have friends and neighbors who heat with oil. Many have keep their thermostats so low, I have to keep my coat and boots on when I visit. This is not about economy, it is about social control.
• • •
I’d like to thank Roxanne Quimby for proposing a new Maine Woods National Park. It is brilliant of her to split her land into two sectors: One for those who hunt, fish, trap and snowmobile, and one for those of us who do not hunt, fish, trap and snowmobile.
Finally, someone with a fair outlook for all citizens of Maine.
• • •
LePage’s bad medicine
Winston Churchill said, “America will always do the right thing, but only after exhausting all other options.” As regards health care, we are still stuck in the “other options” phase, and the governor’s proposal to take 30,000 individuals off MaineCare is a case in point. It won’t come close to saving the millions the governor predicts. In fact, ultimately it will drive up costs for three reasons.
First, for every state dollar spent, MaineCare brings in three federal dollars.
Second, it is well known that people without insurance do not go without health care. They hold off as long as they can but then go to emergency rooms where their care is far more expensive than it would have been in ordinary outpatient settings. This generates huge losses for the hospitals involved, costs that ultimately get passed on to the rest of us. Those of us who are taking care of these individuals as patients will probably continue to do so at a loss. So the governor’s proposal kicks that can down the road and passes costs elsewhere in the health care system.
Third, many of these people will no longer have access to any preventative services or the “privilege” of having their chronic diseases treated while they are still simple. Instead they will have to wait until the catastrophic consequences of their untreated hypertension, diabetes and heart disease occur, again at much greater cost.
The governor is kicking people who are already down to protect the his tax cuts for the wealthy. This is bad economics and bad health care.
Steve Bien, MD