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Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013: Affordable Care Act, Acadia concessions, young workers


Workers take on the ACA

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the first major health care reform legislation passed in more than four decades. Although this landmark legislation makes insurance available for millions of uninsured Americans, over five million low-income citizens will still not have access to coverage.

Maine is one of only four states that decided to reduce their number of residents on Medicaid. In addition, Maine is the only state in the country in which many of those cut from Medicaid will also not be eligible for federal subsidies to purchase private health insurance through the government marketplace. In effect, thousands of Maine’s most socially and economically vulnerable citizens will be left without access to health insurance.

The International Federation of Social Workers states that an individual’s health care needs should fall under the scope of government responsibility. Some might argue that government sponsored health care is incompatible with capitalism. However, we need only look to our political allies in Europe, who share many of our core economic values, to see that there are more effective models of health care.

The United States has a long way to go in improving its overall health care delivery system, and the Affordable Care Act is only a first step in moving toward a more inclusive and socially just system. In addition, the health care professionals who are at the policy table should be pushing for a more integrated system, whose goals include achieving a more patient centered environment.

Jenny Martin


Caring service

Are you serious that there is a new concessions contract with a company from outside Maine? How devastating to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, which we have been visiting for 15 years. This company is clearly out of touch with the pure joy everyone gets by having a sit-down meal at Jordan Pond House. We want to eat and sit down, and then we hike. We go out of our way to get there early to wait in line with the thousands of other people who do the same every day of the week!

To say we want “grab and go” couldn’t be more out of touch with reality and goes to show you the company has no idea why we all flock to the Pond House and would have it no other way. Bring back the Acadia Corp., which clearly cares and knows how to operate the business. We have had no complaints about its service in all the years of visiting. We will not give a cent of our money to this new group.

Michele Harkins


Holiday poverty

During this holiday season, I am asking the people of this area to see the poverty that surrounds us every day. Awareness is the first step in making a difference. Self reflection can bring a person closer to understanding the barriers that people in poverty face.

Ask yourself the question: How do I interpret the behavior of people in poverty? Do I blame or mentor? Poverty is a diverse issue. Recognizing that people are not all the same and might not have the same holiday experience as a middle class family is an important step in acknowledging this severe issue.

As my children grow older, I miss the magic that the holiday season brings. I vow to self reflect this year and support local agencies that sponsor toy drives and food banks.

Isolation is another symptom of poverty. Most children who live in poverty do not play sports or belong to the YMCA. Sponsoring or mentoring kids in programs that support kids is a great way to acknowledge the barriers that exist between the poor and middle class. Building a person’s self esteem can create a new way of thinking.

As the holidays approach us, I ask the people of this area to self reflect on how the issues of poverty have affected their lives.

Alexandria McDade


‘Private’ Camden

Are there really residents of Camden who think the proposed “private” rehabilitation facility on Bay View Street will be the saving grace for Camden’s economic woes? And hiring 29 employees to run this facility would (projected) generate $1.5 million in indirect income for local business? So much for the neighborhood. Reported income for February was $6.3 million for the Camden area.

For the sake of disrupting an already wealthy neighborhood, how much money do the business owners of Camden need? If 29 businesses in Camden hired only one new employee — problem solved.

Penobscot Bay hospital has plenty on land in Rockport. Maybe the rehabilitation center developers could work with the hospital and have the facility there. They could even have an ocean view. At least that area is not in the middle of a neighborhood.

Roy Marshall


Job loss

Anyone who thinks our governor has the best interest of Maine kids at heart is a fool. His desire to allow Mainers as young as 12 years old to work in the greater labor force is not so they can learn the value of work. It’s a hideous and self-interested sop to the fast food and retail industries, whose owners realize that such an influx of workers will suppress an already criminally low wage base. It will abet those employers in cutting hours for current full-time workers.

How many Mainers will lose jobs, working hours and benefits if such a law goes into effect is hard to judge, but the rapturous cries of joy from those who wish to deny folks a living wage will be deafening.

Bruce Pratt


White Christmas

This time of year is very difficult for me, being a caucasian. I understand there are individuals who do not like the phrase “Black Friday.” At least there is not a song being sung about those individuals. Think about it: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” Fortunately, this is only a problem for me for about a month out of each year.

OK, relax. I am just giving those of you looking for something to be upset about some new fodder.

Harriett Real


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