Don’t cut at-risk Mainers

With all the problems that older adults and challenged individuals in this state face, it is the job of our legislators to protect Maine’s most vulnerable populations. I am fully aware that this is a tough economy, but it is even tougher when one is frail, elderly, alone and in pain.

Many seniors in Maine have been watching and are continuing to watch as their hard-earned Social Security benefits are debated over and over again in Washington. Any savings many at-risk Mainers may have had are long-gone in the face of soaring costs for utilities and food.

In the last 10 years, hunger among older adults has increased. Social Security is the only source of income for many Mainers age 65 and older. Many older Mainers rely upon every dime, every penny, to get them through each month. These are individuals who have no choices. They have nowhere else to turn. The state has alternatives, but these are Maine residents who do not.

These are the residents who need for their voices to be heard, and so I am writing this on their behalf: Please do not cut the Drugs for the Elderly or the Medicare Savings Program. These are the programs upon which many of our most at-risk Mainers rely to stay in their own homes and communities where we know they want to be.

Vanessa McGrath, AARP Maine Communications Volunteer


Understanding torture

As a student nurse in 1949, I assisted in tube feeding old people in a privately-owned mental health facility. Tubes were inserted into the nose and pushed down the esophagus until it entered the stomach. Eggnog was poured into a funnel. The patient was either strapped or physically held. She often gagged, cried and struggled. It was not a pretty scene. Apparently the procedure became unpopular, illegal or unnecessary.

Tube feeding is a barbaric method of treatment. I assume it’s being used in Guantanamo for political reasons. Those prisoners who are involved will become martyrs should they be allowed to starve to death. How desperate must one feel to starve oneself? So what does the United States do? Is another form of torture by tube feeding the way to go?

Why can’t these human beings, some enemies, some innocent, be moved to the U.S. and allowed to receive the correct legal process provided by our government? I don’t understand.

Anne Smallidge

Blue Hill

Controlling Costs

A big difficulty in controlling health care costs is that we ask the medical community, including doctors, hospitals and drug companies to work to lower their income. In what other endeavor are people asked to do that? Good luck.

Ralph Snyder


What would Jesus do?

The latest tax measure being proposed in the Maine Legislature: Lower corporate and personal income tax rates with the largest decrease for the wealthiest among us, and make it up by increasing the sales tax that lays its heaviest burden on the poorest among us.

The Maine Legislature is littered with people who vaunt their Christian piety, and they are proposing to hurt those for whom Jesus told us to care. Nice version of Christianity.

A similar travesty was adopted years ago in Michigan. The same sort of phony arguments were used then, including, “The tourists will help us pay for it.” Michigan has since changed its policy again. It didn’t work there, and it won’t work in Maine.

We’re already taxing tourists on what they really buy, including hotel rooms and restaurant meals. If adopted, tourist spending wouldn’t stop this measure from hurting the poor. Those who have proposed this mess should be ashamed of themselves.

Don Ashmall