Party of ‘no’
Rep. Jonathan McKane (“Health care reform -— Maine has been there, done that,” BDN OpEd, Aug. 18) has succumbed to the current Republican malaise of tearing down any proposal to remedy health care problems in this country without offering constructive alternative suggestions.
If the representative is not satisfied with the status quo, how would he work to change it? Democrats are proposing reforms for a system that desperately needs fixing, and these proposals demand thorough analysis and intelligent discussion and debate. It seems that all the Republicans are able to offer is “no,” and Mr. McKane’s article is a clear example.
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Insurance isn’t health
Sen. Olympia Snowe is meeting with her constituents to discuss health care reform, or what is so far actually only health insurance reform. Access to insurance is not the same as access to health care. Insurance executives make millions of dollars a year by refusing to pay legitimate claims.
Sen. Snowe states that she is against the public option, which would offer some competition to these companies, unless it is proved that they will continue sucking dry the blood of American citizens. There is no evidence they will stop. In fact, they must be licking their chops at the prospect of 46 million new customers that will be mandated to buy their product with no competition except from another overpriced insurance company.
Who are Sen. Snowe’s real constituents? Why is she so interested in preserving the obscene profits of the insurance industry? I hope someone asks today if it has anything to do with the fact that she gets 36.8 percent, or $1,196,956 in corporate PAC donations.
For a fascinating look at the top 20 senators holding up true health care reform, and the amount of PAC money they receive, check out fivethirtyeight.com.
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Big and little people
What an ironic combination of stories in the Aug. 19 BDN. On page one we read of a state representative poking his finger in the chest of someone who he apparently thought didn’t give him enough respect. The representative seems yet to accept much responsibility for the events that transpired.
A few pages later we have the story of 5-year-old Abigail and 3-year-old Olivia who were summarily ignored when they tried to pay for their purchases at Target. I wish I’d been there. I’m typically a gentle person, but I might have figuratively poked my finger in the chest of the store folks and said, “Do you know who these little people are?”
They are two short people trying to pay their own way and be responsible. Self-important politicians aren’t really news; they’re common. Little girls who are learning to be responsible adults perhaps should be news; they aren’t so common.
Even big people who pay for things themselves are becoming a rarity.
With all the rhetoric in these two stories, somebody — it won’t be a politician — should say to the girls, “It is so cool that you saved your money and tried to handle it responsibly. Don’t let people discourage you from doing that!”
Are we forgetting how to treat people who are self-responsible? Should we worry about a government that wants to prevent people from accepting responsibility?
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Facts, not theatrics
Sharon Kiley Mack’s report in the BDN on the incident involving former Sheriff Joe Tibbets and the trespassers on his property sounds like the basis of a bad B-movie and the bold headlines add credence to that supposition.
The trespassers related their story “while their fingertips gripped the edge of their table.” Their 4-year-old keeps asking, “Is the bad man with the gun coming back to kill us?”
“We’re afraid to leave our house,” they say.
The trespassers stated that the supposed hostage taker “had his wrists crossed with a flashlight in one hand and a handgun in the other, but they couldn’t see his face because the light was in their eyes.” They could look directly into the light and see his wrist and hands but not his face? Give me a break.
I think the BDN needs to go back to Journalism 101 and report the news as factually as possible and not engage in theatrics.
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Real roots of anger
Regarding the BDN’s Aug. 17 editorial “The Roots of Anger” on the causes of anger over health care reform, I think it’s this: Americans want this administration to mindfully study the issue, not install a “solution” without due diligence.
Congressional leadership wants this to happen by the end of summer.
Our 535-member Congress couldn’t plan a company picnic in that time, much less read, comprehend, debate and compromise on a 1,200-plus page document.
I don’t entirely agree that “much of the protest is aimed at the plan because it was proposed by Democrats,” although there is no doubt some of that. I think most thoughtful Americans would at least entertain, if not welcome, a well-thought-out plan for a serious problem. It’s the way it’s being done that rankles many of us.
The editorial is right about “simmering anger” at the bank bailout, auto bailout and the stimulus. Add to that cash for clunkers, the early security threat to computers accessing that program and unsolicited e-mails from the White House. For many of us, the anger is no longer simmering.
We are not just a talk radio generated “angry and vocal minority.”
There are many of us and we are mad! Not at the notion of fixing our health care system, but at the heavy-handed way this administration proposes to carry it out.
So to our legislators: Go back to the table, take your time, take out the pork and try to do right by the American people.
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Advice for Obama
Here are three steps President Obama can take to sell his ambitious health care agenda to America:
Take anyone who turns 65 between now and 2020 off the table when it comes to proposed reforms. In other words, grandfather or grandmother all those who have paid into the system for the past 30-40 years. These are the individuals who have a trust factor with the proposed plan.
Sell the concept of mandatory health care to the younger generations — the ones who actually got the president into office. These are the mavericks who value his election the most — the ones who have embraced the promise of a better tomorrow. If they start paying now so that there is sufficient participation at all levels, then the health care risks are covered.
Remove the cap on Social Security income. While this may be perceived as a tax increase by the right, the broader public will see it as a practical solution to a longer-term health care and benefit issue. It shows that the president is thinking strategically and in a focused manner in contrast to the negative perceptions of other general “bailout” schemes.
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