LETTERS

Monday, July 16, 2012: Health care, Down East poverty and LePage

Posted July 15, 2012, at 3:18 p.m.
Last modified July 16, 2012, at 12:01 p.m.

Think about it

The Supreme Court’s health care law ruling and Gov. LePage’s latest remarks have once again gotten many of us thinking about the new law. The law was passed exclusively by Democrats to solve two problems: health care that strains the ability of many to pay and lack of insurance coverage for many. The Democrats believed that this law would provide solutions.

It is a big gamble. First, to hold down expenses, enough people must buy insurance. It is unclear whether the penalty — $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater — is enough to accomplish that. Second, it is conceivable that the expenses involved in implementing the law — e.g., insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies — could make it unsustainable, particularly in light of our approximately $15.7 trillion debt.

Other questions yet to be answered are: will the increased regulation cause fewer people to remain or become doctors and will the reduction in Medicare reimbursements erode the quality of care? This is an awfully big law to have been enacted by one party. But the Democrats, apparently, were very sure of themselves.

You could argue that we Republicans could have done more from 2003 to 2006, controlling Congress and the White House as we did. That would be fair. But the Democrats pretty much shut the Republicans out in 2009-2010 when the law was being put together and passed.

I hope Republicans again control Washington in 2013 and that the health care law is repealed. Then Republicans need to act decisively to implement reforms that can create meaningful change without so much downside risk.

Robert Porteous

Freeport

Kudos to BDN

I want you to know that the Bangor Daily News is an awesome paper to be able to read online. I don’t know how you do it, but you’re up-to-date on news. I mean, you get it right on within minutes of happening. You’ve got to give it to you and your staff. A big “Ra ra!” You are so ahead of the Kennebec Journal; I have no idea why they can’t keep up or maybe they don’t care. Maybe it is the lack of staff to cover the area, or their papers are printed in Portland and no one updates all stories. Obviously they are behind.

Also the layout of your paper is great. I like the ability to go back and find past articles that you want to re-read. You have to hand it to you. I also read Lincoln County News, as that is the county in which I live. My God you sometimes are ahead of them. I don’t know how you do it but keep up the good work.

So, congrats to the Bangor Daily News.

Shirley Buck

Jefferson

Save the bridge

When I saw Lionel Rosenblatt’s OpEd about the Waldo-Hancock Bridge in the July 10 paper, I was almost in tears. I thought I was the only one fighting to prevent the destruction of this fine old landmark.

For over a year I have been attempting to bring this to the attention of Maine people. I wrote to the governor, posted on Facebook, discussed on call-in show on WERU and finally began a petition to save this architectural and engineering treasure.

Please join me and Mr. Rosenblatt in any way you can to address this issue. This is my petition: http://signon.org/sign/save-the-old-waldo-hancock.fb6.

Janice E. Kelley

Belfast

Washington County poverty

According to a Bangor Daily News article dated February 8, 2012, a recent survey showed 30.9 percent of those under age 18 are living in Washington County households with incomes below the federal poverty level.

A recently released U.S. Census county poverty data shows that Washington County has the highest overall poverty rate in Maine at 19.4 percent.

What have you been doing about this Mr. Kevin Raye, president of the Maine Senate? Instead of trying to get into the U.S. House of Representatives, how about throwing all of your energy into making life in Washington County better for those residents. And maybe you should start to “cut the mustard” with those folks and make their life better.

Also, veterans out there, don’t forget what U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud has done for us.

Alton L. Gross

Bucksport

Maine suffers ridicule

I am tired of defending the state that I grew up in for the reckless comments of Gov. Paul LePage. The “Gestapo” comment over the weekend is the latest in a series of unfortunate events that has caused Maine to suffer ridicule across the nation.

I learned at a young age that Maine is a place where people work hard, treat each other with respect and approach problems together as reasonable people. That lifestyle has gifted me with educational and career success. Many of my friends and colleagues now hold leadership positions at their respective companies, firms and organizations.

Unfortunately, I have all-to-regular conversations with them about the latest ridiculous comment of Gov. LePage, not about the beautiful place that I proudly call home.

The state that I know is filled with hardworking, reasonable people, and is becoming the butt of a national joke. Some would defend Gov. LePage’s comments as fair or armless political hyperbole and others as a refreshing change of pace from the sterile world of “political correctness.” Remember, though, that these days the leaders of tomorrow rarely see headlines about Maine in the national media that don’t include the latest rant of the governor. When these young professionals are thinking about whether to invest millions of dollars and create dozens of high-skill jobs in Greater Boston or 100 miles up the road in Portland, I’d prefer that they weren’t laughing at Gov. LePage on the way to the boardroom.

Josiah Curtis

Boston

CORRECTION:

The BDN has retracted an inappropriate letter to the editor from Sid Duncan of Presque Isle that discussed pictures of Rep. Erin Herbig.

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