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Tuesday, June 17, 2014: Medicaid expansion, stormwater runoff, Togus care


Just heard John Boehner say on the nightly news about the (new) mess in Iraq, “What is the president doing? Sleeping!”

First of all, why is Iraq such a mess in the first place? Oh, yeah, the Republicans lied to the American people and the world about weapons of mass destruction, and then it invaded the country where more than 4,000 American service men and women died.

Why weren’t there all kinds of hearings on Capitol Hill about this? I believe someone should have gone to prison for a very long time. And how did Halliburton get the contract to put out the oil fires? Oh, I know, the former vice president owns that company.

The Republicans have the audacity to attack the president over Benghazi and say it is completely his fault, or in a couple of years it will be Hillary Clinton’s fault, and even after several investigations and reports about how four Americans died, they won’t let it go. Just like they wouldn’t let go that they said the president wasn’t American.

There has apparently been not one thing that President Barack Obama has done right. I have never heard such hate and discontent for any president in my life; when they can’t think of anything important to say about him, they make fun of his jeans!

I am a white guy living in a mostly white state with just a high school diploma and can see right through these haters, and I truly believe the reason they hate Obama is racism.

Jeff Brawn


Vote Fulford

While Sen. Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, refers to the “chronic underfunding issues” that nursing homes face, he does not offer details as to what legislative forces have created this chronic problem in Maine in the first place.

I live in Waldo County and have worked in a skilled nursing facility for more than 10 years as an occupational therapist. As a clinician, I understand that when a condition is termed “chronic,” the first question to ask is why?

We need to look below the surface of the nursing home crisis. Gov. Paul LePage’s last-ditch effort to find funds for nursing homes failed to address a situation that has been allowed to remain unbalanced. A long-term solution requires a well-crafted plan that will bring nursing home reimbursements in line with present day costs.

Part of the solution is to recognize that the funding of nursing homes is closely tied to Medicaid funding: One issue cannot be considered without the other.

Why did Thibodeau vote not to expand Medicaid eligibility for Mainers even under the compromise bill? All citizens need access to affordable health care throughout their lifespan. Caring for our entire population should be our top priority. Then nursing homes will be able to provide the kind of health care Mainers need and deserve.

I will be voting for Democrat Jonathan Fulford of Monroe for state Senate because he will not play partisan politics, and he will work to make access to affordable health care a reality for elders and for everyone.

Lauren Murray


DHHS and the law

I am writing to express my strong concern regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposal to circumvent the law and deny General Assistance to people without immigration papers. Not only would this rule change come at a cost to Maine’s taxpayers, but it also would render homeless some of Maine’s most vulnerable populations (including asylum seekers and abused, abandoned and neglected immigrant children, among others).

This illegal rule change asks Maine’s town clerks to serve as immigration experts, screening out those individuals the clerks deem authorized to live in the U.S. Yet, immigration is an extremely complicated area of the law. Even seasoned lawyers struggle at times to determine an individual’s immigration status. Maine’s town clerks would require extensive training in a whole new area of the law, at a cost to Maine’s taxpayers.

Given the complexity of U.S. immigration law, town clerks would likely revert to racial profiling by trying to guess who may or may not have immigration papers. Or, town clerks would be forced to ask everyone who comes through their doors to prove their citizenship. Many people simply do not keep documentation to prove their U.S. citizenship on hand.

Finally, we are a state committed to respect for human dignity. To cut off basic aid to young immigrant children and asylum seekers fleeing life threatening conditions in their home countries would place them in harms way, including homelessness, hunger and vulnerability to abuse.

Anna Welch


Wild vs. urban

The city is battling stormwater runoff from roofs and streets because it pollutes our waters. However, some people think that all runoff is bad, but really, all runoff is not always unacceptable. Only runoff in inhabited areas, because of impervious surfaces, is harmful. Some runoff is a natural occurrence.

Wilderness runoff, for example, is fine. Out of all the rain that falls naturally, 50 percent infiltrates the ground, so vegetation grows for animals to use, as compared with as little as 15 percent being absorbed in cites. This lack of infiltration leads to more runoff in urban environments

Urban runoff picks up too many nutrients and dumps them too quickly into the water. This causes eutrophication and algae blooms, which lead to unhealthy oxygen levels in the water.

Also, CSOs are a potential problem every time it rains. A CSO is a combined sewer overflow where during a large rainfall, the combined sewer and storm drain pipes fill too much, and too quickly, dumping everything into Casco Bay, including the sewage from our homes.

It is important for residents to know that the abundance of and pollutants in urban stormwater runoff are the problems — and that wilderness runoff is an important element of nature.

Gabriel Gomez




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