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Friday, Feb. 8, 2013: Elderly at risk, Bumper2Bumper problems and newspapers in schools

Devastating budget cuts

On Jan. 29, I testified before both the Appropriations and Health and Human Services committees at the State House. I testified as a volunteer member of the AARP Capitol City Task Force and a senior on a fixed income. I urged the committees to reject cuts to the Low Cost

Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled Program.

Many older Mainers are struggling with the rising costs of food, health care and heat for their homes. Maine’s DEL program helps pay for prescription drugs for low-income Mainers who are at least 62 years old and not yet eligible for Medicare.

The proposed cuts are nothing short of devastating. The state has alternatives. At-risk seniors and the disabled do not.

To suggest that the program’s beneficiaries can get their prescription drugs cheaply at national pharmacy chains or through discounts from the pharmaceutical companies themselves is short-sighted.

Not every brand-name drug has a generic equivalent for a lower cost, and while it might be possible to get a starter supply of a drug directly from the pharmaceutical company, this is not a sustainable option.

AARP is fighting on the issues that matter to Mainers and their families. We recognize the need for a balanced budget, but eliminating prescription drug coverage for elderly people is not the best way to save money.

The state must not balance the budget on the backs of those who have absolutely nothing to give.

Rena Heath

AARP Capitol City Task Force


Rural area clinics

Shifting budget woes to the most vulnerable will result in a devastating blow to Maine’s low-income seniors and taxpayers. Having to choose between food, medicine and fuel is just not right.

Maine’s elderly residents’ health will decline. Hospitals, clinics, nursing and boarding homes will become full of seniors with treatable diseases and preventable complications.

Providing a clinic in the most rural area of Maine to help elderly residents age in peace has been my personal goal. Without this benefit, I fear the population I have diligently worked with to provide primary health care will be forced to move away from their homes and family into residential and nursing facilities.

The short-sighted decision to remove the drug benefits from low-income seniors will not only be devastating to the health of the patients at my clinic in Allagash, but to all low-income seniors in Maine.

The high financial costs of untreated disease will ultimately shift to all of Maine’s taxpayers.

Medicine to treat chronic disease for low-income seniors should always come first. These patients are the same people who worked their lifetimes in Maine, and I believe they deserve the best health care and the necessary medicine.

Paula Carson Charette

Full Circle Health Care

Fort Kent

Continued dealer complaints

A June 25, 2011 BDN article called, “ AG’s office handling several car care complaints as used car care dealer expands” highlighted customer and employee complaints about the car company, Bumper2Bumper and subsequent investigations, was very informative.

The trouble is that violations seem to continue. My sister-in-law has run into trouble with the company as a consumer, and my husband has had bad dealings as an employee.

We plan to take this to the labor board and Maine’s secretary of state’s office with these recent complaints. Our hope is that more information will be beneficial to the public.

Debra Toothaker


Film beats digital

I was somewhat divided on the Jan. 30 letter from the woman in Orland titled, “BDN more awesome photos.”

I think she has found a problem with today’s technology. Back when the BDN had an excellent staff of professional photographers, all shots were done on film.

Photos were done by the person who took the photo, sent to a lab, developed, then printed after the negative dried. Then within time the readers saw the event in the next day’s issue.

Do people know that there are still 35mm cameras still on the market? Canon is down to one; Nikon has a few; and Leica still makes one. Kodak is still making chemicals to develop film as well as prints, both color and black and white.

Jim Koritzky


Joining in thanks

From time to time, the BDN publishes a list of Newspapers in Education sponsors. I would like to join the paper in expressing my thanks to these businesses who sponsor the BDN for classrooms around Maine.

I am one educator whose students have greatly benefited from their generous sponsorship. I work with students who speak English as a second language at a local school. Though I have used various part of the BDN with my students, my personal favorite is Tuesday’s MiniPage.

Even beginning English learners unconsciously learn vocabulary as they search for the hidden pictures.

With the frequent repetition of objects from week to week, the students soon can find the pictures independently without asking what the words in the given list mean.

The MiniPage articles are valuable for the more advanced students because they clearly explain cultural, historical and other topics important to all citizens.

In many cases, these young people are new to our country and therefore do not have the background knowledge on these topics that our native English-speaking students have.

Reading the articles together builds reading fluency, vocabulary, generates discussion and aids in my students’ cultural and historical understanding of America.

Again, thank you, sponsors, for your valuable contribution to the learning of my special students.

Betty Spearing


Protection for all

The president pleads for no assault weapons and no high-capacity magazines. However the folks that protect him and his family have access to both items.

I feel my family is entitled to equal protection. If politicians were required to abide by the laws they propose, and not exempt themselves, their approval ratings would be a bit higher.

Bruce Porter


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