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Tuesday, November 27, 2012: Hippocrates, labor and gratitude

Hippocrates never envisioned Obamacare

Recently a woman writing to the BDN asked, “What has become of the Hippocratic oath?” What she has failed to realize is that the delivery of medical care is a business — an exchange of services for a fee. While government central planners are busy implementing the Affordable Care Act in the belief that they can control both the supply and demand for healthcare, they have apparently failed to consider one key element:

Physicians may simply opt-out. That is, doctors may refuse to take patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid or any of the many plans that will soon be available through the newly established insurance exchanges and instead populate their patient base with well-insured patients covered by private plans.

The math is simple. The American Medical Association estimates that by 2016 there will be 44,250 fewer full-time physicians practicing in the United States than are currently practicing, and 32 percent of those will be family practice/general medicine doctors. When demand is high and supply low, physicians simply have no incentive to put up with the onerous regulations, ridiculous paperwork requirements and dismal reimbursement of government plans. While the Affordable Care Act may provide coverage for everyone, it cannot compel a physician to take anyone as a new patient.

Jeffrey Piper



Who won? Who lost?

A BDN article on Nov. 17, “Hostess collapse shows union resolve,” quotes Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant, who said, “Philosophically, I think the union wins in the Hostess standoff.” House Majority Leader Seth Berry said, “In the corporate world, it’s a race to the bottom, it’s about maximizing profits.”

Sarah Bigney, spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO said, “ We’ve given enough, and we need to see some shared sacrifice by the corporation, too, and the striking workers have been inspirational.” Ken Rumney, a striking worker says, “This is an example to other companies not to break their unions.” Sue Tapley, the strike captain, while at the Biddeford plant, said, “You [the strikers] can fight them and shut them down.” Maine economist Michael Hillard said, “The union’s willingness to go down with the sinking ship, and in some cases take credit for sinking it, may prove that corporations are just trying to find any way to get a profit.”

The theme is the union has won a great victory, and other union companies better look out or they too will be closed down. Somehow, to me, the thought of 18,000 employees out of work is a real loss, but I am relieved to know that those people quoted, who are all still working, can claim a real win here. Now let’s get the GM unions and all the other unions together and close every company, so we can declare a final victory for all. That would be a real win. Or would it?

Ben Brown



Labor mural receipt?

Gov. Paul LePage is the responsible party, and he has a duty to reveal, forthwith, the whereabouts of the state labor mural — with a verifiable value of $60,000 — and the condition of the mural when removed for shipment. If the governor is unable to produce evidence — a receipt for carriage and delivery to a specific place by a common carrier or other agency — and show the condition of the goods when they were accepted by the carrier — he is liable for the $60,000 value as a minimum. I do not believe the good governor can plead ignorance of the rules for common carrier liability in view of his business experience at Marden’s.

Whether or not LePage took the appropriate actions noted above to limit liability, the responsibility for having done so remains solely his. Whether or not he is found responsible for having initiated the removal action, the carriage and delivery to a place unknown is a separate matter.

So, let’s get rid of this nonsense about the whereabouts of this important exhibit. All other factors being equal, the governor must show how and where he ordered its carriage to be completed and what the delivery and receipt at the destination shows.

No evidence found? Sorry. That is not an escape from liability.

Robert C. Dick



Simple gratitude

Gratitude is thanks: “a feeling of being thankful to somebody for doing something.” We are thankful for our brave men and women who volunteered to serve in our military, both those overseas and here at home. Their sacrifices, and their families’, cannot be forgotten. We need to be grateful for our men and women in uniform, many of whom have served in harm’s way for several deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. They don’t ask for our appreciation, but we need to give it and demonstrate it often and aloud.

Maybe we do not express our gratitude because we assume that public service is its own reward. Those who come forward in politics, the military and education do so on their own accord. Why should we say “thank you” for those in the employ of the greater good? Because our national character is in danger of becoming callous and indifferent to the sacrifice of others.

This nation of ours attracts millions for reasons beyond wealth or opportunity. We enjoy freedom beyond our knowledge — to speak and think and vote and assemble and print and believe (or not!).

Thousands die daily around the world for what we take for granted in the United States of America. Simple gratitude is needed again, from the corner market to the Supreme Court, to the throne of God. Express gratitude this year — for everything. Teach our children simple gratitude.

James Weathersby



Heartwarming gratitude

It was absolutely heartwarming to see so many young Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Brownies eager to shake the hands of veterans during the parade on Veterans Day in Bangor.

The youngsters took extra care to thank as many veterans as they could. Their Scout leaders and parents should feel very proud of them. How wonderful that a new generation is being taught respect and gratitude.

Robert Arell



Unfortunate departure of news anchor

Such a shame to see a class anchor woman and citizen leave WVII-TV in haste. Cindy Michaels was a credit to local media and journalism. One could tell she had a vision.

Michaels would make an excellent edition to the WLBZ news team as co-anchor with Chris Fachini.

J. E. Gifford


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