Wednesday, July 3, 2013: Healthy junk food, Medicaid and climate change

Posted July 02, 2013, at 12:30 p.m.

Truth and balderdash

Given Michael Noonan’s June 28 BDN article, “Don’t eat food that’s been played with,” I would highly recommend reading an evidence-based, not-driven-by-ideology, article, “The cure for obesity: How science is engineering healthy junk food,” by David Freedman in the July-August 2013 edition of The Atlantic. Freedman is a journalist, not a self-serving practitioner.

I would suggest that all of Noonan’s columns are self-serving and not rooted in evidence-based knowledge. Giving the chemical name for ingredients makes any food sound alien. The chemicals in an unadulterated apple found at Noonan’s Saturday farm market can sound just as alien; sodium chloride, hydrogen hydroxide, fructose, citric acid, malic acid tyrosine, flavinoids, querticin, cellulose and ethylene. Processed versus natural is not the issue. The issue is which chemicals are good and which are bad for your health. Excessive sugar is bad for your health. McDonald’s fruit-and-yogurt parfait has more than 50 percent of its calories from sugar. Eighty percent of a farm-fresh apple’s calories come from sugar.

Except for my belief in the canons of science, using replicable real data as evidence, I have nothing at stake in my comments. They are made as a person who strongly believes in truth and has little patience for balderdash.

Pierre Woog, Ph.D.

Eastport

Permanent tax

Times have changed. I recall Gov. John Reed’s Republican administration starting the 1 percent Maine sales tax. A temporary tax to fund education.

Now the Democrat controlled Legislature wants to temporarily raise sales tax to 5.5 percent. In Maine the Democrat definition for temporary is permanent.

George Lambert

Bar Harbor

Climate changes

There can no longer be any doubt that human-caused climate change is real, and that we are already living with its effects – including extreme droughts and storms, wildfires and ocean warming. I congratulate President Barack Obama for this week laying out a bold plan to address climate change. The president’s proposals would cut U.S. carbon emissions, help prepare our country for the inevitable impacts of climate change that are already upon us, and help us take a position of international leadership in addressing this global crisis.

Coal-fired power plants are responsible for 40 percent of U.S carbon pollution. The president’s plan would set limits on this CO2 pollution for the first time. We already regulate emissions of mercury, lead and arsenic from power plants. Why not carbon? This key action will help fulfill the pledge made during the president’s second inaugural address to “respond to the growing threat of climate change for the sake of our children and future generations” by limiting the unchecked carbon pollution that is fueling climate change.

We must act now to preserve a habitable planet for our children and grandchildren. Obama’s proposals are a step in the right direction.

Jonathan Falk

Carmel

Senator Sentry

Since Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was elected into office, I believed her to be not only my representative, but a sentry, upholding the Constitution, thus protecting our economic stability, freedom and our way of life.

However, the past four years have caused me to take a closer look at the woman I have voted for since her first term. I have had to look past the photo-ops with Girl Scouts and the occasional bills that rescue an industry for a short time, therefore shoring up adoration and future votes.

As I investigated what is in the immigration bill that she recently supported I discovered disturbing information that will affect myself, my children and my neighbors, indeed all of us.

An honest and logical assessment of this bill and its outcomes of unprecedented levels of unemployment, economic collapse and eventual civil unrest, lead me to conclude that Collins is no representative. It grieves me to say that she is no sentry for my country nor a protector of my beloved countrymen.

Progressively Collins has become the go-to-gal for those on the left who strive to undermine the Constitution and the freedom of the American people. Just look at her voting record. Admittedly, it is not all destructive, but there have been several votes that are direct attacks on our freedom that are revealing and cannot be ignored.

Jodi Lassell

Corinth

Obscuring the facts

As an oral health practitioner, I’m tired of Dr. Jonathan Shenkin obscuring the facts about Maine’s dental problems. In the most recent example, he said a report by the respected Pew Charitable Trusts was “substandard” — ignoring the fact that Pew used data submitted by Maine to the federal government.

Shenkin seems to attack any study that doesn’t fit his rhetoric. Ironically, one of them was funded by the Maine Dental Association and the American Dental Association — a trade group for which Shenkin is a spokesperson. Study after study, including this one, shows many Mainers have trouble getting dental care.

That’s why it’s so unfortunate that Shenkin and the MDA pressured legislators to block a bill that was supported by 80 percent of Mainers, a bipartisan coalition of legislators and more than 30 organizations in our state. It would have made it easier for rural and underserved Mainers to get care by creating a nurse practitioner-type professional for dental.

Yet Shenkin and the MDA did all they could to kill it — in order to preserve their monopoly on providing care. In the year this was debated, the number of MaineCare kids who went without dental care rose from 55 to 68 percent.

Shenkin, the MDA and those who voted against this bill should be on notice. Mainers have trouble getting dental care, and it will continue to get worse. Despite this, the MDA has failed to propose anything that would truly fix the problem. That’s negligent, and the people of Maine are watching.

Catherine Kasprak

Fryeburg

Medicaid results

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

Castine

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/02/opinion/letters/wednesday-july-3-2013-healthy-junk-food-medicaid-and-climate-change/ printed on September 30, 2014