MaineCare should cover dental care

When I was young, my parents were unable to easily afford dental care for us. Like so many, we went without. My parents saw the pain I was in. They helped whenever they could, and it has been a huge hardship in our lives.

By the time I saw a dentist, the care was overdue, and the damage had been done. I had to come up with thousands of dollars to address pain so bad I could think of nothing else. At no time in my adult life have I ever been able to afford the total amount a dentist had estimated for my care.

Treating teeth as if they are not essential elements of human health is how we got here. What people are going through is ridiculous. We cannot continue to set people back and bar them from opportunities because they’re poor. A person’s smile is often the first thing that people see. A healthy set of teeth has a huge impact on an individual’s confidence and sense of self-worth. Appearance is also known to have a direct impact on employment status and rate of pay.

Dental care is health care. Please contact your state legislator and ask them to take action this session. We need MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, to cover dental care.

Kimberly Hammill

Levant

NECEC is good for Maine

It’s a quarter to 4. I can’t sleep. I can’t stop thinking about the clean energy corridor from Quebec. The truth is, this project will have significant climate benefits. It will take more than 3 million tons of carbon out of the air every year. This is a huge project Maine can participate in right now. And it won’t cost the state a penny. Rather, it will provide many benefits in addition to climate benefits, including jobs and lower electricity rates because rates are set at the New England level.

The truth is that hydropower has very low emissions, less than solar and on a par with land wind. That’s according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The truth is that Hydro-Quebec is a 99 percent clean energy company, and says it has surplus capacity.

The truth is that slowing warming of the planet is essential to preserve the way of life as we know it for all humanity.

The truth is there are fossil fuel companies that oppose this project. The truth is cleaner hydropower will replace dirty fracked gas. The truth is, this project is good for Maine, good for you, good for me, and good for those who follow.

Al Howlett

Yarmouth

Farm workforce bill a joke

House Democrats passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act last week, which would supposedly modernize agricultural labor. What a joke. This bill amounts to an indentured labor scheme that ties farm workers and future workers to farm jobs before giving them green cards. It provides amnesty to an estimated 1.5 million illegal immigrants who claim to have worked in agriculture. But there’s a catch: They aren’t free to work in other industries for several years.

Why do we need such a system? Studies indicate that once legalized, migrants will leave agriculture and compete for jobs in other sectors, such as construction.

This bill actually slows the modernization of farming. As long as agri-business can rely on a steady supply of cheap foreign manual labor, there’s no incentive to invest in automaton, as in other advanced countries. As Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration writes: “So long as it’s cheaper to invest in congressmen than in automation, the use of stoop labor will persist.”

A 1989 OpEd in the The New York Times described our last farmworker amnesty as “one of the most extensive immigration frauds ever perpetrated against the U.S. government.”

Only three Democrats broke ranks and voted against the recent bill, and Rep. Jared Golden was one of them. How refreshing. A man who thinks for himself. Bravo, Golden.

Jonette Christian

Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy

Holden