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Monday, Oct. 7, 2013: Health care, shutdown and free trade

Affordable care

I have many patients with no health insurance. For example, “Joe” was a full-time cook for many years. He had no health insurance through his job, and coverage would have cost $70 a week, so he didn’t get health insurance. Eventually he was found to have severe diabetes, and now he has the complications of heart disease, nerve pain and lower leg amputation.

He is now disabled. He came in with his wife last month. She works two part-time jobs, but neither job had health insurance. She had to stop one job in order to qualify for MaineCare health insurance. With two jobs she made too much money to qualify.

If we had the Affordable Care Act, a few years ago, “Joe” would still be working as a full-time cook, and she would be able to work both part-time jobs.

Health insurance companies have been able to cancel policies, deny coverage and charge more for pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act has already stopped this.

Everyone needs affordable health insurance. The new health insurance marketplace will give people options if they have no insurance. The average monthly insurance payment is $100 or less. Families will get an average tax credit of $4,000 to cover their health care. Go to to learn more about the marketplace or sign up.

Please contact U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to show your support for the Affordable Care Act.

Kathryn Bourgoin, MD


Do not pass go

Now that the Republicans have shut down the government, it is only right that if the little guy has to go without pay, then the legislators should have to forfeit their pay. These policies that are good for the regular working man or woman should apply to the idiots who forced the shutdown.

John L. Clark


A little common sense

Kudos to the BDN for printing “U.S. workers pay high price for free trade” on Sept. 23. Contrary to the slogans that sold free trade to Congress — that free trade was good for all Americans — it’s now painfully clear that free trade has decimated middle class jobs, even as the 1 percent reaped unimaginable wealth. And with the destruction of decent jobs, government isn’t receiving enough taxes to pay our bills. Our massive fiscal debt is funded by printing and borrowing money, pushing the debt onto our children, even as we swamp their labor markets with millions of new workers.

In the book, “ Free Trade Doesn’t Work,” author Ian Fletcher reminds us that not all developed nations allowed globalization to gut their middle class. Germany, with low unemployment, high wage jobs and no debt also practices free trade. What’s the difference? German politicians focused on protecting the interests of Germany.

American politicians rigidly focused on protecting “market forces” and the “global economy.” They dismissed the need to shelter emerging industries, as other nations did, naively assumed unmanipulated currency markets, ignored the role of subsidies by foreign governments and dismissed the importance of manufacturing to both workers and the value of the dollar, on which our import-dependent economy now relies.

Instead of leaping to embrace an economic theory from academic economists and billionaire globalists such as George Soros, our politicians might have exercised a little common sense and basic caring for American workers and families. We need a big “re-think” on free trade. And let’s hope our guys sharpen up.

Jonette Christian


The time has come

For the better part of a century there have been efforts to extend health care insurance to all citizens. Monday, this country witnessed a steady stream of individuals and their families, from every community and every state, begin the process of signing up for that coverage. Yes, it is not perfect, but for millions of citizens affordable health care is now in sight. Each mother seeking prenatal care, each newborn, each child, each adolescent and each adult will have the opportunity for preventive and curative health care.

While there are those in this country who feel that it is not the business of our government to provide this access to health care for all, I would ask the millions of children and families who will now have that coverage what they think. We can wait for the perfect solution, while millions go without coverage, or we can continue to improve a system that covers all now.

I for one am grateful that the time has come when all have coverage.

Harper Dean

East Machias

Fringe control

The Senate and president cannot let a minority in the House demand changes to a law they don’t like in order to keep the government open for a few weeks. This will change our balance of power and negate the constitution. That small group of right-wing fringe will become the final arbiter of what this country does. The voting majority, the president, the Senate, the courts — no one will be able to stop them from changing our laws to meet their requirements if this blackmail is paid today.

Paying blackmail for a few weeks of keeping the government open? What’s next? We will lurch from crisis to crisis with that House minority demanding changes to every law they don’t like to keep our doors open and to not default on our debt. That is not how a democracy is run.

It doesn’t matter what the demand is, whether you want ACA repealed or not, we cannot allow a small faction to take control of our government and our lives. The next payment they demand to keep our government open may not be to your liking, but by then your choices of elected officials will have little or no say against the demands of a few who hold our government hostage to their whims.

Deborah Ferrell


On furlough

I believe I have the solution to the government shutdown. Currently nonessential government employees are on furlough. I believe we should put noneffective government employees on furlough; i.e. the president and members of Congress.

Harriett Real


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