In her June 18 BDN OpEd, “The cost of requiring more renewable power,” Americans For Prosperity Maine Director Carol Weston sites two economic studies — one from the Beacon Hill Institute and another from the Institute for Energy Research — to buttress her claims that Maine’s successful Renewable Portfolio Standard is bad for Maine consumers. What Weston fails to mention is that these institutions have well-documented financial ties to conservative mega-donor oil magnates Charles and David Koch, who have a vested financial interest in maintaining Maine’s reliance on fossil fuels. Beacon Hill Institute alone has received more than $739,000 from Koch-connected groups and has authored a steady stream of reports attacking renewable energy in states in New England and across the country in an effort to build public and legislative opposition to renewables.
Weston presenting these reports’ findings as fact without disclosing their funding sources is as disingenuous as pointing to a report rejecting the health risks of tobacco without mentioning it was funded by Philip Morris.
As board members of the organizations that co-authored the report Phil Bartlett references in his piece, we welcome a healthy debate with Weston about Maine’s RPS. We just hope she will bring more than rhetoric to the table in the next round.
Linda Beck, board president, Maine Conservation Alliance
Dick Bissel, board member, Maine People’s Alliance
In his BDN June 24 OpEd, “Pass 60-day ‘c ooling off ’ period; don’t raise taxes,” Rep. Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst, lauds what he calls Gov. Paul LePage’s progress in fighting corruption in Augusta. But before we haul out the trumpets and start up the parade, perhaps it would be helpful to remember that in a brazen act of nepotism, the very same LePage hired — at taxpayer expense — his own recently graduated daughter of questionable qualifications.
And perhaps it would be further helpful to remember that Lockman’s Augusta House of Representatives elected Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, to the post of speaker of the House after it became known that Nutting’s pharmacy — fully owned by him — had overcharged Medicare and Medicaid on fully 100 percent of its Medicare and Medicaid billings. Oops. And perhaps it would be helpful to remember that LePage’s administration, like the Baldacci administration before it, refused to investigate this grand larceny of public funds. No wonder drug dealers in Florida are turning to Medicare fraud for their livelihood.
Or perhaps for Lockman’s purposes it would be much more helpful to not remember — but rather to forget — all this.
I am writing on behalf of our public library. I know that the proposed budget cuts will mean our library will lose $100,000 in the upcoming year. This will be one-third of its budget. The loss in funding will mean cuts in staff and decreased hours. I argue that these budget cuts should not happen. Our library is not a luxury but a necessity.
Our library offers many free resources and programs to our community. Book groups, monthly luncheons, family nights and hosting summer concerts in the park are just a few programs that our library offers to us.
Adults and children visit our library on a daily basis, so we can email faraway friends and family members, have a quiet place to read, sharpen our skills for upcoming jobs and interviews, prepare for exams and even research medical conditions.
The skilled staff at the library offer us guidance and information. They also maintain the integrity of our collections. They are a resource for parents, children and teachers in our community. Our library promotes literacy in this digital age. It provides access to all.
I urge you not to cut the library’s budget. It is the beating heart of our community.
Recently, LD 616, a bill allowing citizens in Unorganized Territories to have a voice in zoning wind towers, which the Baldacci administration stripped from the public through the 2008 Wind Energy Act, was pulled from the omnibus energy bill. Senate Democratic Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond said the reason he was pulling the bill was, “These are very complicated issues. We need to look at these issues comprehensively, look at all the moving parts to strike the right balance between economics, people and the process.”
Unfortunately, the Democrats were not interested in citizens’ rights issues when ramming the Wind Energy Act through the Legislature in 2008, but now they choose to use due diligence as an excuse to further delay the rights of Maine people. Justice delayed is justice denied.
James C. LaBrecque
Registered Dietitians could save hospitals across the nation up to $528 million annually just by doing their job as the “recognized nutrition experts on a hospital interdisciplinary team.” A new rule proposed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would allow Registered Dietitians to independently order therapeutic diets and related laboratory testing. To date, physicians have had this responsibility, but with the change in ruling, Registered Dietitians would be given the autonomy to do the job they have been highly trained to do.
Dietetic interns in the graduate program at the University of Maine are excited about the opportunities presented by the proposed rule change. Their path to becoming Registered Dietitians includes a four-year undergraduate degree and a master’s program with a 1,200-hour internship, then passing a national credential examination.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the largest professional organization for dietetics and nutrition professionals, agrees with CMS that Registered Dietitians are the best clinicians to assess nutrition status, order and modify diets. The CMS rule will lead to improvements in overall medical and nutritional treatment of patients and contribute to declining health care costs.
According to Pepin Tuma, the Academy of Nutrition and Dieteics director of regulatory affairs, “Hospitals that choose to grant these specific ordering privileges to Registered Dietitians may achieve a higher quality of care for their patients by allowing these professionals to fully and efficiently function as important members of the hospital patient care team in the role for which they were trained.”
Consequences for noncompliance
Recently Dr. Amy Madden and Dr. Erik Steele weighed in on whether the state of Maine decides to opt in or out of the federal Medicaid program. Please consider the following: All Medicaid recipients would be required to attempt to improve their health as stated by Madden in point two of the Triple Aim concept. In keeping with this concept, Medicaid recipients must have a yearly physical at which time they would be required to show their decrease in obesity if appropriate, their limited use of alcohol, the non-use of tobacco or drugs, and a thorough understanding of their role in preventing disease. If they could not meet these criteria, they would become ineligible for Medicaid funding.
As the only physician in a large geographic, rural area in Maine, I experienced family medicine for many years and am very aware of the need to set strong consequences for noncompliance.
Thomas J. Miller