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Saturday, March 30, 2019: Unchecked health care costs, unsure about Belfast fish farm, popular vote and Maine’s power

Popular vote and Maine’s power

Anyone interested in strengthening Maine’s voice in electing the president of the U.S. should urge our legislators to pass the national popular vote bill and have Maine join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

How does this make Maine voters more powerful in presidential elections? Under the current system, we control just four electoral votes out of 538. Under the National Popular Vote system, every voter in Maine will have their vote counted directly toward their choice for president, and the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC will become president.

As members of the compact, Maine voters would have a say over the disposition of a block of at least 270 electoral votes — enough to elect the president.

That’s good reason for Maine legislators to pass the national popular vote bill during this current session.

Gwen Doak


Still unsure about Belfast fish farm

Despite the impressive public informational presentation by Nordic Aquafarms (NAF) in Belfast on March 26 about four very complicated permit applications, I remain unable to make up my mind whether the NAF land based fish farm is a good idea or not. Here’s why.

It is just not a fair level playing field when lay people have to immediately digest two hours of data and then quickly try to formulate and ask sensible limited two-minute questions of the paid industry consultants who helped create those permit applications, much less fully understand their answers.

To date, I have not seen independent, objective analysis of NAF’s data. Fortunately, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) will conduct formal public hearings at which time a more expert critique can be expected. Still, remembering how the Federal Aviation Administration deferred to Boeing for some of the oversight of the company’s 737 Max 8 jetliners, I do hope our BEP will be more careful.

I am not at all implying the fish farm will cause any immediate disastrous loss of human life. Rather, I fear if not well vetted, it may cause long-term substantial environmental harm. So I suggest we all await the results of the BEP hearings before coming to our conclusions. I will.

Sidney Block


Unchecked health care costs

Trump has jump started the discussion around health care, I suspect to get the Russian collusion story in the rear view mirror. Republicans and Democrats have done nothing since the Affordable Care Act became law to seriously go after health care costs — except blow hot air.

The United States has advanced, cutting edge treatments available but also spends the most. Our for profit, capitalist health care system is completely out of control, but the stock market is roaring, so it is full speed ahead.

Now that we have created this money machine, how do we put some of that toothpaste back into the tube? We are a very unhealthy society and cannot mathematically deliver that unlimited, cutting edge health care to everyone.

Why can no politician just come out and say that? There is just not enough taxpayer money to continue with the system we have now. Like all other serious problems the country faces, the concern with being re-elected completely renders our representatives useless.

Health care costs — very much like the national debt, deficit, education costs, public sector legacy costs, defense spending, violent crime, etc. — will continue unchecked. How any of those 535 people who decide the future of this country can stand in front of a camera without a paper bag over their heads escapes me.

Richard Ginn


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