February 17, 2020
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Monday, April 27, 2015: Free beer, Medicaid misguidance, human welfare, clean elections

Free beer

In order to solve the short pint problem, Jake Morrel suggests in his April 18 letter to the editor buying a British “crown line” beer glass and asking bartenders to fill it to the line. This would be a good trick, because a British pint is 20 ounces, not 16 as it is in the U.S. Morrel may have enjoyed a lot of free beer!

Marilyn Muth

Spruce Head

Medicaid expansion

The BDN’s recent editorial advocating yet again for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Maine was extremely misguided. The BDN used a flawed study that cherry picked certain states to support an argument that repeatedly has been rejected by Maine lawmakers and voters alike.

We don’t need a study when we have real world experience. After expanding Medicaid, New Hampshire is facing a $58 million budget hole they’re filling, in part, by slashing $7 million in nursing home funding at a time when Maine is proposing additional funding for nursing homes. In Nevada, Medicaid expansion enrollments were nine months ahead of projections in September, creating an estimated $130 million extra cost to the state. In Massachusetts, expansion recently drove a $230 million state budget shortfall. California is facing nearly $1 billion in administrative costs alone because of their Medicaid expansion.

Right here in Maine, when we expanded Medicaid in the past, we had more than twice the enrollment we expected, helping to double the size and cost of the Medicaid program and create the hospital debt and countless budget shortfalls. This newspaper believes 70,000-75,000 Mainers would sign up under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. The Kaiser Family Foundation also estimated 72,000 Iowans would sign up by 2022. The reality? Nearly 123,000 Iowans signed up by last month.

The BDN does not have to be accountable for the consequences of the miscalculations that inform its editorials. This newspaper may wish to live in a world of theoretical money, but Maine taxpayers and the LePage administration have to deal with fiscal reality.

Stefanie Nadeau, Director

Office of MaineCare Services

Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Augusta

Clean Elections initiative

Let’s face it, money gets you most of what this society has to offer. You can buy better food, housing, transportation, health care, education and a better lawyer if you get in a pickle. Unfortunately, money doesn’t get us better politicians — just ones beholden to moneyed interests. To a corporation or wealthy individual, campaign contributions buy access and self-interested legislation.

Our system of the rich for the rich has delivered an environment so degraded to bring on what scientists are calling “The 6th Great Extinction.” CO2 levels are higher than in the last 4 million years, and our nation engages in endless wars. Our prison system profits from caging a higher percentage of its citizens than any other nation on earth. The richest 1 percent will own more than the remaining 99 percent own by 2016. Sure, unbridled capitalism serves the 1 percent but endangers life as we know it for everyone else, including wildlife.

Fortunately, Maine is one step closer to getting money out of politics. The Clean Elections initiative has gathered 80,000 signatures, more than required to be on the Nov. 3 ballot. Our job is to work our butts off to counteract the inevitable money that will be spent to confuse voters into keeping alive a society where money rules. This initiative will restore Maine’s Clean Elections laws, expose the dark money of super political action committees, close corporate tax loopholes and raise penalties for those violating the law. Together, we can begin to create truer democracy where money can’t buy politicians.

James Merkel

Belfast

Science, not symbolism

Glen Brand’s recent Earth Day OpEd and his passionate embrace of renewables fails to address the big problems associated with grid-scale wind and solar. Neither are dispatchable on demand, and their intermittent energy production cannot be stored, which means traditional power plants must be kept running to back them up.

Grid-scale solar installations don’t take into consideration the massive amounts of heat being generated by acres of black panels blanketing the earth, heat intense enough to incinerate birds flying overhead. The sprawling industrial wind “farms” being constructed along Maine’s mountains and ridge lines do not address the ecological and environmental impacts of blasting and road building at high elevations, clear cutting of forests, spraying of herbicides, building of large transmission corridors from remote mountain locations and the loss of critical habitat for our winged friends.

Three hundred miles of 500-foot tall blinking turbines stretching from north to south will impact 12,000 square miles of scenic viewsheds, which represent priceless economic assets in a state that relies on tourism as its biggest industry. Government-subsidized, grid-scale wind and solar do not pass the real cost-benefit analysis, and worse they siphon much needed funds away from finding truly clean solutions for a power-hungry planet.

Our energy policies should be based on science, not symbolism.

Penelope Gray

Registered Maine Master Guide

Freeport

‘Human Welfare’

I recently retired, so when the Bangor Daily called with a great introductory offer, I said yes. Now, instead of rushing around in the morning getting ready for work, I sip my coffee and catch up on the news.

I have found several comments, both letters and editorials, about welfare abuse. I agree with most that the system needs work. After reading the April 21 article about the Millinocket mill investment, it gave me an idea about welfare. The article was a little confusing about money changing hands and how much money actually went back to the investors, but several things were very clear:

1. The plant is closed.

2. The investors continue to receive over $2 million a year from Maine’s general fund through a tax loophole and will through 2019.

3. I have to agree with Eliot Cutler, who called this “corporate welfare.”

4. Legislators in Augusta are becoming more like those in Washington, as they are considering a bill to double the limit for the same tax credit program.

My solution to the problems with “human welfare” is very clear: If those in Augusta feel they can fix the corporate welfare problem by doubling the funds available, why not double the budget for human services?

Jim Flavin

New Sweden


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