Darkness of heart and soul
Perhaps the most striking thing about the populist right, embodied by Paul LePage and Donald Trump, is their demonization of and obvious hatred for some of the most desperate and vulnerable citizens. Their successful moves to deprive the aforementioned of food and health care indicate a meanness that reveals a darkness of heart and soul that should be unconscionable in a decent society. The fact that they are applauded in their sordid efforts by a significant number of people is a serious undermining of common decency that should be an affront to a civil society.
Medicare for all model can be good for Maine
Thank you for the very enlightening article last week about imminent changes in our local hospitals. The article explains how the cost to patients could rise, the billing may become more complicated, and the only recourse to the patient, before they receive treatment in the emergency room, would be to ask what components of care would be in/out of network.
With our current status quo, too many people rely on ER services for their health care needs, too many people go without care, too many people struggle with complicated billing and are bankrupt by medical costs, and too many people suffer, with untenable consequences.
It is long overdue that we address the need for fundamental health care reform. Preventive care should be readily available. Those requiring treatment should be able to focus on the care their doctors would prescribe, without distracting and paralyzing financial concerns.
Mainers care about this issue; they have first-hand experience of this broken system. Health care is fundamental to our well-being as individuals and as a nation, and should not be treated as a source of profit. A reformed system on the lines of Medicare for all can be efficient, financially sound, politically sustainable and provide benefits fairly distributed to all. It can be affordable and provide peace of mind. Checkout maineallcare.org for more information.
Medicaid expansion helps opioid fight
We are greatly troubled by the opioid crisis in Maine and in the country. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths in the U.S. jumped by 10 percent to about 72,000 in 2017. The number of overdose deaths in Maine increased by 10.9 percent in 2017. While other New England states are making progress in addressing this crisis, Maine lags behind all of them and is the sixth worst state in the entire country for rise in overdose deaths. Clearly, we’re not doing enough to address this problem.
A recent New York Times article indicates that data from the CDC show opioid deaths have started to decline nationally. Dayton, Ohio had one of the highest death rates in the country in 2017, and experienced a 54 percent decline so far this year. Experts believe Medicaid expansion in Ohio and access to health care with addiction and mental health treatment have had a big impact on reducing opioid deaths.
Nationally, states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act have shown greater progress in addressing this crisis than states that have not expanded coverage.
The expansion of Medicaid under Gov. Janet Mills is a huge win for Mainers. Clearly, everyone needs access to health care and Medicare for all would be a good next step in helping those with substance use. We need to work on a publicly funded, privately provided universal health care system for Maine. Please join the 40,000 Mainers who are supporters of Maine AllCare, a Maine nonprofit working on health care reform. For more information, visit maineallcare.org.
Start a wall fund
Here’s a plan to end the disgraceful situation in which our Senate and president refuse to fund the government: Open all branches of the government tomorrow, and institute back pay for unpaid federal workers, including those who have been furloughed. Open an account named “Build the Wall” in a national bank. The $5 billion needed to build the wall is about $15 per person.
Every person who supports the wall can deposit $15 into this account; that is the maximum amount per individual. Parents can deposit for minor children and students. Those with means can deposit for those who cannot afford it, but both parties have to go to a bank branch and identify for whom each deposit is made. There will be a short window for gathering money in this account.
If this bank account does not equal $2.5 billion by March 1, we will see that less than half the population supports this wall. The money goes into the federal treasury for other border security measures. If funds in the account exceed the halfway mark, the government funds the rest, and President Donald Trump gets his wall, paid for predominantly by those who support it.
Thank a trash hauler
This time of year can be very difficult for trash haulers. No matter what the weather, the trash needs to be picked up. These trash haulers have a job that has to get done.
Most towns have weight limits and rules about what we can throw out. Have you checked these recently? Do you have a clear path to your trash can or bag? Does the bag exceed the weight limit? Has your can filled with rain water? That can result in a giant ice block to heavy to lift.
I learned the bags often break when they are tossed into the truck often exposing the workers to the contents. Not pleasant, if the bag was filled with wood stove ashes, cat litter, broken glass, etc. Disposing of things properly will help the workers to avoid further injuries, as they often get covered in the liquid that gets squished out of these. Also, some people are using white trash bags. These are difficult to see in the snow and often don’t get picked up. The black ones are always sturdier and are not easily missed.
Hauling trash is definitely not a pleasant job. But someone has to do it. I think these guys do a great job in being regular with picking up the trash. So folks, I think it would be nice if we all could be more conscientious about what goes into our trash and thus make their job a little easier. Next time your trash hauler comes by, please take a moment to thank them for the job that they do.