Monument not harming economy
There’s been a lot said lately about “fake news.” A perfect example is Gov. Paul LePage’s misinformation in his letter to President Donald Trump asking him to reverse the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument designation. He claims the people of Maine and the Katahdin region don’t want it, that it’s damaged our economy, and threatens our rich heritage.
But the governor couldn’t be more wrong. Anecdotal evidence suggests an increase in local and tourist traffic and business in the Katahdin region since the designation.
There’s hope here with Our Katahdin’s purchase of the Millinocket mill campus with the goal of redevelopment, the reported interest in the East Millinocket mill campus for a biomass fuel facility, and Poland Spring’s interest in Lincoln for a potential bottling facility.
All of these opportunities use the resources of the North Woods; we are working with our natural assets, not against them. And there are many local efforts underway to create historical and educational programming to make sure our rich woods products and logging heritage remain a vibrant part of our story.
Many thanks to Rep. Chellie Pingree and Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins for respecting the designation and concentrating on how it can help the economy of the region. It’s my hope that Rep. Bruce Poliquin will remember the overwhelming support the monument had at his hearing in East Millinocket last summer and find the political courage to support his constituents in the 2nd Congressional District.
Health care math
In House Speaker Paul Ryan’s long awaited replacement for the Affordable Care Act — the American Health Care Act — many people could lose their health insurance. In fact, as many as 24 million could lose health insurance coverage by 2024, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
For Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s office, that bad news is offset with a $337 billion reduction in the federal deficit between 2017 and 2026. When pressed, Poliquin’s office could not say whether it was a “good” thing or a “bad” thing that, when I did the math on Trump’s $54 billion, or 9 percent, increase in annual military spending would, federal spending still would increase about $203 billion over 10 years.
That still is rather a lot. But not a lot of savings.
Health care ruse
I’m hopping mad. For months, we’ve been promised “major improvements” in health care insurance. Now we’re getting tax reform and benefits for the wealthy disguised as health care reform.
On what planet do the words “major improvement” translate into fewer people being insured? Trumpcare is simply appalling. How gullible does House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump think the American people are?
I’m an independent voter without a political ideology. I’m 70 years old. I’m not a wealthy man. Affordable health insurance matters a lot to me. And if you’re as concerned about decent health care insurance as I am, it’s time to do two things. One, visit the websites of the American Medical Association and Kaiser Family Foundation to obtain unbiased, nonpartisan and objective information about how the new health care bill is likely to affect us all. Get the facts.
And, two, when you see how dangerous this bill actually is, write your senators and representatives to demand that they oppose this foolhardy and very dangerous bill. Join me in demanding affordable, comprehensive, better insurance coverage — not tax breaks for the rich and claptrap tax ideology at the expense of low- and mid-income Americans.
Lead by example
If Rep. Bruce Poliquin likes the Republican health care plan, why doesn’t he lead by example and use it for his health care needs?
Car insurance comparison flawed
Since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, we have all heard the argument comparing the individual mandate to auto insurance. There is no comparison.
Auto insurance is on the vehicle. If you don’t drive, you don’t pay. The individual mandate forces you to pay a premium or pay a penalty just for being alive.
Auto insurance is required to operate a vehicle on public roads to insure that in the unfortunate event of an accident, compensation will be available to those that are harmed. A person seeking medical help does not cause physical harm to persons or property. The fact that a person does not have health care insurance does not mean that they will not pay their bill.
In order to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, one has to be of a certain age, have proven familiarity with state laws, and proficiency in handling a motor vehicle. Driving a motor vehicle is a voluntary choice. A person can choose to walk, roller-skate, ride a bicycle, or take public transit to forgo the expense of buying auto insurance. There is no alternative to living but death.
The obsession with trying to provide health care insurance to all Americans overlooks the real problem with affordable health care. The individual mandate is not lowering premiums, and health care policies with high deductibles are increasing bad debt at hospitals across the nation because people with high deductible insurance cannot afford them.
Too late for Trump regret
Joseph Benedette wrote in a March 15 BDN letter to the editor that he voted for Donald Trump “for change,” but now he wishes he hadn’t.
I cannot believe he could not see through this carnival con man during the campaign. Trump thinks about nothing but himself, worships the almighty dollar, lies, and surrounds himself with crooks and cronies. But Benedette and many others wanted him, so they got him and all that comes with him.
As honest, hard-working people lose their way of life and the poor and sick get poorer and sicker, Benedette and all the other voters who supported Trump can stand up and say, “I voted for Trump to make America great again.” Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.