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Friday, Aug. 17, 2012: Child abuse, insurance premiums and Boy Scouts


Protecting children

For the past two years I have been the voice of a toddler and infant, brother and sister. Both children were removed from the care of their parents and placed in foster care because someone accepted the responsibility of reporting severe neglect. Today, I go to court again as the voice of two children who can go forward in life and be cared for by loving parents in a safe environment.

Professionally, I work with families who constantly struggle to care for their children. In most instances, they succeed.

In the spring of 2011, Victor Vieth, executive director of the National Child Protection Training Center and National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, was the guest speaker at the Child Welfare Conference in Orono. Vieth’s passion for the protection of children has resulted in a system that gives children of neglect and abuse a voice based on clear research and science.

Regardless of the lack of legal precedence and the weakness of Maine laws mandating the report of child abuse and neglect, there is no excuse for those who fail to protect children at risk. It is time for all of us to look beyond the “fears” of doing the right thing.

Ultimately, many of these unprotected children grow up to be adults. The time to recognize and report child abuse and neglect is when it occurs. Society needs to stop looking away and pretend the problem will somehow disappear or care for itself.

Margaret Capehart


Heads of the Hydra

Republicans and their pseudo-libertarian cohorts howl with outrage at Obamacare. No doubt a sizable portion of these right-wingers have government-funded health care, whether by state, federal or local tax-based employment, Medicare, taxpayer-funded retirement programs or Medicaid. While President Barack Obama’s reform reins in the most egregious private insurance practices, it falls far short of universal coverage and further institutionalizes the for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, allowing them to feed at the public trough.

For our small business, existing reform translates into a 44 percent premium increase for 2012. To add insult to injury, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield demands, and our Gov. Paul LePage-backed state insurance bureau agrees, we must join the Chamber of Commerce at $250 per year or face cancellation of our policy. This week the Chamber featured a television attack ad against independent Angus King and supporting the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate this November. For years the Chamber has funded Republican-based initiatives. Anthem not only squeezes us dry for health insurance but also insists we fund the Republican Party and Willard (Mitt) Romney. We have no other option. Aetna, Cigna, MEGA Life, United Healthcare are, like Anthem, heads of the Hydra.

James McDonald, Ph.D.

Reesa Greenberg


‘Johnny Baseball’ had something for everyone

I am writing to let BDN readers know that stepping into Hauck Auditorium was like walking into Fenway Park. The replica of the Green Monster greeted the audience and got them in the mood for baseball, “Johnny Baseball,” that is. The overture contained enough strains of the national anthem to begin the game, and an American chorus filled the bleachers to sing “86 Years,” and the show was underway.

Non-baseball fans should keep reading, however, because, in spite of the title, “Johnny Baseball” has something for everyone. The music is by turns catchy, edgy and bluesy. The themes range from the perseverance of entrenched racism through the endurance of love and the bond between fathers and sons. The lighting, costumes and sets take history fans to 1919 and 1948. Fans of acting and vocal performance will appreciate the efforts of the local and imported talent. To borrow a phrase from another baseball musical at the expense of the Yankees, “you gotta have heart,” and “Johnny Baseball” has more than enough heart to engage theater fans of all stripes and revive the flagging spirits of Red Sox fans during this otherwise mediocre season.

Overall, the show was every bit as good as last summer’s student production of “Sweeney Todd.”

Scott Peterson


Resounding yes

I would like to reply to the question posted by Leverett Merrill of Orrington (BDN, Aug. 9) with a resounding yes. Many of us who are upset with the recent decision by the Boy Scouts to ban gays are also upset with Penn State and the Catholic Church.

This is because we understand the difference between homosexuals who are harmless and pedophiles who are not.

Jay Hall


Health care costs

A study by the department of economics of the University of Chicago is pertinent to present discussions about health care costs. They demonstrated that improvements in health care have been worth approximately 73 trillion dollars to society between 1970 and 2002 (life expectancy in 1970: 70.8 years; in 2002: 78 years). The average 50-year-old man gained additional life-years worth $350,000; the average 50-year-old woman gained $180,000. Also, they noted that a 10-percent reduction in heart disease mortality would save society $4 trillion.

Thus, while society has invested very large additional sums in health care during this period (approximately $25 trillion, of which approximately $7.5 trillion went to administrative costs, a percentage much greater than noted in any other major country), the return on this investment has been substantial, greater than the average return on most investments during this period.

Another disturbing study by the Commonwealth Fund demonstrated that the United States ranks last among high-income nations on deaths that could have been prevented by timely access to effective health care.

The preventable death rate in the U.S., 95 per 100,000, was almost twice that of France, at 55 per 100,000. The authors attributed these findings to the lack of universal coverage and high cost of care.

Arthur J. Weiss, M.D.

Little Deer Isle

Far from the truth

The lady who quoted scripture in a letter Aug. 3 should study the Bible before remarking on it. Just as homosexuality is a sin, so is rape and incest. None of those things are accepted by God.

If she thinks that Christians hate people who commit such acts, she is far from the truth. We love them and pray that they will repent and accept the truth of God’s word. It is the sin we hate, not the person.

God does not make mistakes. People do, and we will all be accountable to Him one day.

Gloria Boynton


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