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Monday, Dec. 12, 2011: USPS, MaineCare and BPA

Support postal service

This is praise for our United States Postal Service. They are a group of folks who have grown from horseback delivery to lovely automobiles and now trucks to bring joy to our country. The joy of walking to my mailbox to pick up a letter or card from a far-away friend or family leaves me speechless. To think that person took the time to sit down and write me a letter, go the post office and mail it shows how much love it took.

Computers, no doubt, are good for something. When I retired, so did my computer. It went to a veteran’s father to help keep in touch with his son overseas.

As with many of us old folk, we prefer a one-to-one, face-to-face communication or a wonderful letter.

Please let our postal people continue to bring joy into our lives.

Jane Pierce


Reforming MaineCare

Gov. Paul LePage is on the right track with reforming MaineCare. There are some people who work for companies that offer an insurance plan but opt out of it to get the free MaineCare. This is wrong.

If you work for a company that offers insurance you should have to take it. Maybe there could be a subsidy to assist them in paying for it but they should not be entitled to free health care just because it might mean another deduction from their paycheck.

I believe this would both help the state and private insurance companies by not entirely burdening the state and putting some of the responsibility on the individual. The state should stop paying for people to quit smoking, for methadone and alcoholism — self inflicted; preached about for years but still a problem. We can’t bail them all out. Its not fiscally feasible.

Earl Eberhart


Retirees in Maine

There has been some discussion of late about a proposal to eliminate state taxes on retirement pensions in an attempt to lure more seniors to consider Maine as a place to settle. Here is my experience.

I retired from a 30-year career with the federal government in July of this year and moved to Maine in early August. Since that time, I have had a local contractor doing redesign work on my house, employing from two to five people over the past eight weeks. I have visited every hardware store in a 20-mile area, bought both new and used furniture, new snow tires and winter clothes, a generator, a boat, screens for the house, a pool table and many appliances. I have employed numerous electricians, plumbers and assorted handymen. I have met and do business with local farmers who product eggs, dairy, meats, veggies and fruits. I just decorated the house with a locally bought Christmas tree and wreaths. In addition, my wife and I are locating local health care professionals which include optometrists, audiologists, dentists, doctors and other support services. Lastly, we visited numerous craft and agricultural fairs over the summer and fall to purchase all of our Christmas presents.

To date, my wife and I have spent over $50,000 and we still have a way to go to make our home as we want it. We are committed to Maine and buying locally. I don’t believe my experience is too different from anyone else moving in from out of state.

Brian Steinwand

St. Albans

Devastation on Route 15

For the past two days I have cried and apologized for the destruction of so many beautiful trees along Route 15. Driving to work along that road is not the most pleasant daily experience but to see the devastation being done in the name of progress is most painful. I can only imagine what homeowners are feeling.

Roxanna Adams


Support Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

As a retired physician and cancer survivor, I am acutely aware of the many toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our daily lives. For example, formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is used in carpeting and furnishings. Pthalates, found in many personal care products, masquerade as “fragrances” whereas, in fact, they may cause birth defects and impair metabolism. Bisphenol A, a hormone disrupter, is in many plastics including liners of some canned foods. Vulnerable populations such as children and pregnant women are at particular risk when exposed to these substances. Toxic chemicals have been linked to serious health problems including cancer, diabetes, obesity, asthma and developmental and behavioral disorders, all of which cause families hardship and incur exorbitant medical bills.

Consumers deserve access to information about the chemicals in the products they buy. The federal policy, The Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, is badly broken. Of the 80,000 chemicals on the market, only 200 have been tested for safety and only 5 have been regulated.

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847) would require manufacturers to disclose information about chemicals used in their products and would provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions. Sens. Snowe and Collins support chemical reform but have stopped short of co-sponsoring the bill. I urge them to co-sponsor the bill to ensure the health of Maine families for generations to come and hope you will let them know of your concerns.

Diane H. Schetky, M.D.


Medicare red tape

As the nation’s population ages we all have one thing in common: eventually Medicare will be our health insurance. Currently Medicare is an unsupervised agency with unrealistically rigid rules as to how money is spent and how it deals with people. I ended up on Medicare at 47 years old when a stroke changed me from a building contractor to a wheelchair user.

Three years ago, Medicare purchased an electric wheelchair for me. The chair was never reliable, and in April 2011 it developed problems staying charged. By late summer it had stopped working completely. Without it, I can’t get around at all. I have incurred serious injuries from falls, including three broken teeth. Now I am developing back, hip and ankle problems. All these medical bills are covered by Medicare and total more than the cost of the chair. But Medicare will not pay someone to fix a three-year-old chair or even to have it evaluated. They will not replace it for two more years.

I am sure that there are other people in my situation, trapped in a Medicare red tape nightmare. The most upsetting thing is that the nation’s taxpayers are footing the bill for all of this.

Lonnie El-Hajj


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