Reject Medicaid expansion
There is no question that affordable health care is a major problem in Maine, but utilizing the often-repeated but never-successful remedy of throwing hundreds of millions of hard-working Mainers’ tax dollars at the problem is not the solution.
This was tried in Maine in 2002 and created a huge problem. Not only were the promised outcomes not realized, but Maine ended up owing hospitals $750 million. The only way we worked our way out of that dilemma was to sell off the state’s liquor contract, an option that is no longer available.
The assertion that we should milk the federal government for most of the funding is a short sighted. Common sense dictates that this money cannot and will not be coming to Maine forever. This year alone, the federal budget deficit is approximately $660 billion.
Ever-increasing health care costs loom large for all of us. They need to be addressed, and they can be if we are willing to work together. We can’t expect that throwing a whole pile of money at a problem is a better method than strategically analyzing what we should be doing and then acting accordingly.
There is no simple way to determine the right answer, but there certainly is plenty to show us that Medicaid expansion is the wrong answer. We need to vote “no” on Question 2.
Rep. Dick Bradstreet
Trump’s Obamacare sabotage
President Donald Trump has delivered on his promise to destroy the Affordable Care Act created under Barack Obama. My once affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is increasing by $740.51 a month in 2018 due to Trump’s manipulation of the ACA. This yearly increase of $8,886.12 is for my husband’s and my $5,400 per person deductible health insurance plan, with a 30 percent co-insurance.
My hope is that every single person who voted this guy in and all those who continue to support Republicans and Trump “enjoy” the same outrageous increases in their health insurance. The health insurance marketplace is no longer offering the Affordable Care Act — it is only offering TrumpCare, and it isn’t great.
Ash for Belfast mayor
I am writing to express my support for Walter Ash in his re-election bid as mayor of Belfast. Ash has visited my Senate office several times concerning legislative matters that impact Belfast. He is a strong advocate for fairness to all and exemplifies dedication and caring leader.
During the time when the Group Home Foundation — a nonprofit that ran an apparel factory that employed people with disabilities — closed its doors, Walter participated in key discussions with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. He showed great compassion and caring for the Group Home Foundation members as the business closed its doors.
Maine Senate president
Elevate rights of crime victims
As Aroostook County chair for Marsy’s Law for Maine, I was discouraged to read the BDN’s recent editorial about this important effort. I fully back Marsy’s Law and equal rights for crime victims as the right thing to do for Maine.
I am particularly concerned that the editorial board believes current statute allowing for certain rights for victims “when practicable” is sufficient. Ask any victim if timely notification of proceedings in their case, timely notification of the release of the individual accused or convicted of the crime against them “when practicable” is enough. Most will tell you it is not.
The cost to implement equally strong and enforceable rights for crime victims was also mentioned as a concern in the editorial. I would argue that the cost to provide equal rights for victims, which the large majority of states do, should always be a primary function of government. Furthermore, much of the rights provided by Marsy’s Law are already law in Maine, so in many cases the work is already being done and additional costs will not be incurred.
We cannot underestimate how meaningful the elevation of the rights afforded by Marsy’s Law will be for crime victims, none of whom should have to suffer from the injustice that the person who harmed them or their loved one has stronger rights.
I am proud to be a part of this growing and bipartisan effort to bring much-deserved equal constitutional rights to crime victims in Maine.
Rep. Harold “Trey” Stewart II
Trump nominee a climate change denier
Sam Clovis, President Donald Trump’s pick for chief scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has no background in science or agriculture. The chief scientist position should be held by someone who understands and respects the role of science at the USDA.
Congress mandates by law that this position be filled by a distinguished scientist, with “specialized training in agriculture research, education, and economics.” Clovis has none of these important qualifications.
Farmers in Maine and across the country are facing tough times. Maine suffered through a major drought in 2016. Changing weather patterns are forcing producers to rethink how they manage their land and water resources.
In order to shield farmers from future downturns, we owe them all the tools and information they will require to diversify their operation for times like these. Sound investments in scientific research at USDA can play this role. More leadership and investment in science — not less — is needed to solve the long-term challenges faced by our nation’s farmers.
Clovis’ denial of climate change is an egregious affront to American farmers and rural communities. He has no credentials qualifying him for this appointment. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should say no to Clovis.
Waterville pit bulls escape
What in the world was the staff of the Waterville Humane Society thinking when they allowed the owner of two condemned — and vicious — pit bulls to “take them for a walk” from the shelter? She returned to the shelter “empty leashed,” so to speak.
If the shelter wanted to honor the owner’s request, why did not a shelter staff person accompany her? The Waterville Humane Society’s board needs to examine release guidelines. I hope the dogs do no damage while enjoying their freedom.