Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014: Obamacare jobs, Medicaid expansion, Camden vote

Posted Feb. 14, 2014, at 11:37 a.m.

Do the math

I feel really badly for the children in East Millinocket, Woodville and Medway. The superintendent is willing to crowd their school and limit their resources just so they don’t have to consolidate with Millinocket.

I think Superintendent Quenten Clark should travel 6 miles and take a look at the facilities at Stearns Junior/Senior High School in Millinocket. He might be surprised. His “I want to be sure we can fit another 186 students into Schenck” in East Millinocket is moot for Stearns as it was built to house 800 students.

Clark should do some homework, check out the facilities and do what is really best for the children of his district and consolidate with his neighbors.

Hope MacDonald

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CBO report

In his Feb.12 letter, Dale Ferriere decries the “spin” and “damned lies” of Democrats. It is ironic that he himself has apparently been spun about his prime example of spin, causing him to repeat a “damned lie.”

The Congressional Budget Office report he references did not say that that Obamacare would “lose 2 million equivalent jobs.” It said that 2 million people would voluntarily quit their jobs or reduce their work hours in order to do other things. Thus Obamacare will open up nearly 2 million additional jobs for the unemployed.

This issue is not hard to understand. When somebody leaves a job, the job is not lost. An open position is gained. However, it isn’t surprising that Ferriere is confused. Republicans in the House and Senate, Fox News, and the right-wing radio echo chamber have been brazenly, dishonestly and deliberately turning the CBO’s finding on its head.

Convincing people that up is down and down is up should be difficult, but this spin has been so loud, and repeated so often, that it has apparently done exactly that for some people.

According to the CBO, by providing other insurance options Obamacare is going to free people now tied to their jobs by health insurance. They will then have the freedom to retire early, work fewer hours, start a business or move to be nearer family without losing their insurance — and many will.

We should applaud this increased freedom and opportunity instead of distorting what the report actually said for political gain.

John Alexander

Old Town

Medicaid headache

In arguing for Medicaid expansion, many overlook the fact that half of the 70,000 they want to cover are already eligible for Obamacare. Right now, anyone making 100-138 percent of the poverty level can get a decent insurance plan on the exchange for $9 per month, as this paper’s recent editorial points out. Liberals complain that this population can’t afford the expense, but fail to mention the fact that almost half of them smoke cigarettes. Where do they get the money for that?

For those who earn under the poverty level and aren’t eligible for subsidies on the exchange, they now have a big incentive to work a little harder. This would be one of the rare circumstances where public benefits actually encourage people to work more. They’re eligible for the plans if they work at least 30 hours per week at minimum wage. And remember, all 70,000 of the people we’re talking about are nondisabled and of working age.

We’re always seeing Medicaid run over budget and causing a budget crisis in our state. As a result, taxes have gone up, and other programs get cut. Perhaps worst of all, 3,100 severely disabled Mainers are on Medicaid wait lists, while able-bodied young adults receive coverage.

Why should Maine taxpayers be put on the hook again? It’s the federal government’s law; let it pay for it. These folks can get coverage on the exchange for next to nothing, saving Maine taxpayers another massive Medicaid headache.

Jim Goff


Camden ballot

Three out of five members of the Camden Select Board voted to prevent a town vote on whether or not McLean should be permitted to operate a residential recovery center at Fox Hill despite knowing that many residents wanted to vote on this issue.

The week before this vote, I went door to door in Camden asking residents to sign a petition asking our select board to let the voters decide this issue. In total, 291 people signed directly and an additional 80 called or emailed to “put their name down” as wanting this to go to a town ballot. That is 371 Camden residents. Of the people we talked to there were only 40 who said no, and half of those just wanted to learn more. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of a town vote on this issue. The select board was informed of this.

In the neighborhoods we found that Camden residents were very well informed on this issue. They knew the pros and cons; and they wanted to learn more. They want to vote.

But three men won’t let them. This patronizing attitude is simply not necessary. I hope Fox Hill petitions to put this on the ballot, so voters can decide in spite of the negative messaging of a few opponents.

Dan Domench


Camden culture

As a registered voter and new resident in Camden, I am disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to vote on whether or not the town supports the necessary changes to zoning that would allow McLean to operate a residential recovery center at Fox Hill. I am one of those individuals referred to at the Select Board meeting whose voice traditionally would only be heard by a silent vote as it is not natural for me to write letters to the editor or to take a stand on issues that have become political or polarized.

I am saddened and disappointed for several reasons. First, that this proposal did not make it to the people of this town for a vote. Second, and more important, is because, as a health care professional who has spent her professional life specializing in recovery treatment, the benefits to the health and well-being of this town, and all those that this project would serve, has not made it into the conversation.

There is much more that could be brought into view. However the point of this letter is that the decision of the select board has not only prevented an opportunity for the people of the town of Camden to have a voice. It has hindered a larger conversation in regards to the impact of untreated addiction on our culture.

Linda A. White



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