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High-speed internet expansion
As a retired occupational therapist and senior citizen in Maine, I want to thank voters for passing Question 1 on July 14. I agree with the opinion the future of health care for senior citizens will be through telehealth. I had two appointments on zoom, one with my primary care provider and the other with my orthopedist. Having a patient portal to message my provider about a health concern and receive a prompt reply could not have happened without high-speed internet.
The internet is crucial to daily life in 2020 to access health care, friends, family, church, education and to order groceries and other necessities. Every dollar spent from Question 1’s bond will help to ensure a more connected, prosperous and high-speed future for Maine. Thank you to everyone who voted for equitable internet access in the primary.
Captain of the ship
Imagine what would happen if the captain of a large naval vessel, such as an aircraft carrier:
Publicly denigrated and undermined his or her chief engineering officer and the chiefs of other departments; viciously attacked the motives and patriotism of crewmembers; announced that he or she was not responsible for the crew’s welfare and that they needed to fend for themselves; withheld available supplies and resources from the ship’s departments; gave vague, confusing and contradictory orders day after day; mocked and targeted members of the crew who were attempting to use well-established principles of leadership and seamanship; encouraged certain members of the crew to defy their superiors and to intimidate them; promoted racism and sexism; blamed the crew for anything that went wrong on the ship; repeatedly complained that the crew was conspiring to make him or her look bad; claimed that people who disagreed with his or her way of doing things was a traitor and should be jailed.
Do you think the crew would be able to effectively work together as a team to sail and maintain this vessel? What are the chances that the ship would be able to survive a severe storm? Well, folks, you don’t have to imagine what would happen. This is the reality of our ship of state.
Mental health care access
One aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic I would like to see covered in greater detail is the negative impact on mental health care access.
The coronavirus public health crisis has led to more than 42 million unemployment claims, and 10 percent or more of Maine’s workforce became unemployed. When people lose their jobs, they often lose an employer-provided health plan as well.
In my practice alone, numerous clients have been forced to discontinue therapy after becoming unemployed, and losing their employer-based health coverage and this is extremely concerning. There is significant potential for backslide whenever mental health treatment is suddenly halted. The potential is only more severe when there are so many added stressors from the coronavirus pandemic itself.
Medication is also an issue. Without health coverage, many people will have difficulty affording prescription drugs and psychiatrist appointments to renew and adjust the medications they rely on to help control schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and other serious mental illnesses. The results could be disastrous for them and their families.
I believe Sen. Susan Collins has always shown that she puts Maine residents first. We sent her to Washington to be a voice who can bring different sides together on important issues. Thus, I’m asking her to lead on this issue and work with her Republican colleagues and Sen. Mitch McConnell to ensure people who lost their health care can get temporary coverage until they get back to work. Our state’s health depends on it.