Repeal Obamacare now
The Senate will soon have a chance to do something about burdensome Obamacare and its impact on Maine’s small businesses.
The law failed in its central promise, to make healthcare affordable. Premiums for small businesses skyrocketed, and its implementation forced the cancellation of insurance policies for millions of Americans. Insurance companies have abandoned the exchange marketplaces, leaving Americans in many parts of the country with one option or no options at all. Even former President Bill Clinton called Obamacare “ the craziest thing in the world.”
Small business has long supported repealing and replacing Obamacare. The National Federation of Independent Business opposed the health care bill when it passed, and challenged its constitutionality before the U.S. Supreme Court in NFIB v. Sebelius, although the court upheld the law.
That’s why I’m calling on Sens. Susan Susan Collins and Angus King to vote “yes” on the Senate plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
The current Senate bill provides massive tax relief by eliminating or delaying 11 of the most burdensome Obamacare taxes, which are crushing small businesses and driving up costs. It also eliminates the punishing mandate penalties that discourage job creation, expansion and investment.
I hope our senators remember that small business employs most of the state’s private-sector workforce. It’s the backbone of our economy. Obamacare is a massive impediment to growth and new jobs, and now our senators have a chance to enact change that will help small businesses.
National Federation of Independent Business
Standing against hate
While attending the Bangor Pride festivities in West Market Square last month, I noticed a young man marching through the crowd holding a sign with anti-gay Bible scripture on it. While most of us in attendance were content to avert our gaze and ignore the vastly outnumbered individual, a gray-haired woman in a bright green tank top decided to follow the man around the square, waving a rainbow flag in his wake.
I assume this was in an attempt to mitigate his efficacy to spread his message of judgement and condemnation. I will never know her name, but I will always admire her courage and conviction. I just thought someone should know what she did.
Undo monument designation
We’re being told the economy of northern Penobscot County is on the mend thanks to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Truth is it’s up just a little. If we’re willing to settle for such a small improvement, let’s sign up now.
I think it’s a terrible idea because we can do so much better. Northern Maine grows some of the finest lumber for hardwood floors, furniture, construction lumber and so on. The way we can manage forests now with modern machinery to save the high-quality young trees is amazing. This management will lead to stands of high-value timber like we have never seen before in Maine, on a much shorter rotation, and provide good-paying year-round jobs to raise a family.
Federal forests will become an incubator of destructive insects and disease allowed to spread to private forests. Then we’ll see the huge forest fires Maine has experienced in the past and rivers and streams full of silt from land with no vegetation to protect it.
It’s too bad we can’t find some middle ground solution like making this a national forest, as some have suggested. The problem is if federal ownership stays in place there’s no way to stop it from growing like a cancer on our economy until it consumes any hope of the ability to raise a family here.
Let’s hope President Donald Trump keeps his promise made during the campaign to undo this national monument designation.
Trumpcare punishes sickly Americans
In February, I was walking on my college campus when, suddenly, I was engulfed by fear and ineffable thoughts of doom. My body became drenched in sweat, my thoughts were racing, and my heart was pounding out of my chest. When I finally made it to class, I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to learn, I didn’t want to socialize with my friends, I wanted to die.
This episode led to my diagnosis as a victim of a panic disorder. Since then, I take a daily medication that allows me to fully function and feel like myself (a happy, driven young adult).
Without this medication, I can barely leave my bed. With it, I’m not forced to think about my disorder or let it define me.
But that will all change if Republicans pass their health care bill. Under Trumpcare, I am reduced to someone with a pre-existing condition and nothing more. Under Trumpcare, I will be punished for something I can’t control.
If Republicans pass this bill, 22 million people will lose their health insurance. That means that millions of people will be unable to afford their daily medication that allows them to function as normal human beings.
Senate Republicans postponed the vote on this bill, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. I urge everyone to keep speaking out because together we can ensure that people like me can continue living their lives without any illness defining them.
Recognize Penobscot Nation’s sovereignty
Underlying the federal appeals court’s rejection of legal arguments made by the Penobscot Nation is the continued refusal of the state of Maine to recognize the sovereignty of the Penobscot Nation.
It is beyond sad that after so many years of broken promises, the appeals court affirms the state of Maine’s contention that waters of the Penobscot River are not part of the Penobscot Reservation. The river is an integral part of who the Penobscot people are.
May the injustice of the state’s assertion and the court’s decision call Mainers to deepen our recognition of the sovereignty of the Penobscot Nation. Never did it relinquish rights to the river and its fisheries that are essential to Penobscot understanding of a relationship to nature that humanity so desperately needs to learn.