Obamacare repeal not a solution

Basic health care should be an option for everyone. When I lost my husband, my family lost its insurance. My daughter had a pre-existing condition. Our insurance costs more than our house payment. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would cause our insurance costs to skyrocket, if we could get her health insurance at all.

I own a small business in Penobscot County. For many of my employees, the ACA has expanded their ability to access health insurance. My business is not unique in this respect. Many small businesses and private contractors lack the necessary pool of employees to offer their employees that option. So, for many of our small businesses, fishermen and farmers, there is almost no access for health care without the Affordable Care Act.

Having an educated to society is the same as having a healthy society. Emergency rooms are not health care, and that’s where people who are uninsured wind up, at a higher cost and with a lower quality of care.

I, like former President Barack Obama, will support bills that expand access to health care because the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but what I don’t support is a reckless repeal of it. Repeal would do nothing to fix the problems that House Speaker Paul Ryan has raised about health care in the United States. It would not expand access to coverage or lower costs. It would, however, cost lives. That’s why U.S. Sen. Susan Collins needs to stand with us to protect health care.

Elisabeth Dean


Trump’s costly weekend getaway

The Trump administration has proposed to cut funding for climate, air and energy research from $91 million to $45 million. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s weekends at his club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, have cost the taxpayers an estimated $10 million so far.

It saddens me that we can find funds to pamper the first family, but we cannot spend funds on the future of this country.

Michael Corlew


Planned Parenthood opposition misguided

Diana Turner presented in her March 6 BDN OpEd moving personal accounts of how Planned Parenthood, as a medical provider of last resort for many poor women, saves lives. Despite similar testimony from across the country, calls to defund Planned Parenthood are increasing once again by abortion opponents. Nevermind that no public funding supports abortion services and only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services involve abortion.

Opposition to Planned Parenthood seems misguided for a more basic reason. It ignores why women seek abortions in the first place. The overwhelming reason is to end unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. An important mission of Planned Parenthood is revealed in its name. The organization, through its birth control services, helps to prevent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing the number of abortions.

Nicholas Kristof, in a March 5 New York Times column highlighting Planned Parenthood clinics in Maine, wrote that “The truth is that these clinics do more to reduce abortion rates than any army of anti-abortion demonstrators.”

Larry Theye


Implement ranked-choice voting

If the residents of Maine voted to implement ranked-choice voting, it seems to me that any provisions of the Maine Constitution prohibiting it should be changed to allow it, as opposed to using the apparently outmoded constitution to prohibit ranked-choice voting. Shouldn’t the Constitution reflect the will of the people, as opposed to the will of the politicians of any party?

Michael P. Gleason


Voter ID makes voting harder

There are two bills under consideration in the Maine Legislature on voter ID and residency verification: LD 121 submitted by Reps. Brad Farrin and LD 155 submitted by Kenneth Fredette.

They claim our elections are vulnerable to fraud, and these bills will help. Except, there is no evidence of voter fraud in Maine. Julie Flynn, the deputy secretary of state, said in testimony for LD 121 that she has found only four cases of dual voting during her 22 years in the office.

So since the bills aren’t fixing a problem, all they accomplish is making voting more difficult.

Max Treitler

Blue Hill

Restore tip credit

In 2007, my wife and I wanted to see other parts of the United States. Our daughter had just moved out of the house, and we had never traveled west of Chicago. A co-worker had friends in Vancouver who helped us find a place to stay when we relocated.

Locals told us that landing a job on the Columbia River waterfront would be a great match for our restaurant industry backgrounds. Having the experience we did, along with references to back us up, it was easy to land jobs. But nothing could have prepared us for the decline in income. We thought that an $8 per hour base wage was amazing at first, but we quickly saw the low percentages of tips. And after a month of living there, we started depleting our savings just to pay our rent.

We packed our bags and headed to San Diego. There our restaurant jobs had the same hourly pay but represented a more traveled place. We thought it would be better, but no — it was exactly the same.

Now here we are back home on the East Coast, living in an amazing community with incredible opportunities. Yet, non-industry organizations are trying to change our way of life and our way of doing business based on misguided ideologies. From landlords to lobstermen, everyone is going to suffer if the tip credit isn’t reinstated. Save us service workers, save our restaurants, and, please, save our state.

Terry Hultzen

Bar Harbor

Plastic bag ban bad

The Belfast City Council and the do-gooders are at it again. The folks that gave us Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day are working on a fee for plastic bags at some local businesses. They want us to pay 5 cents per bag when we purchase our groceries.

Here is a possible scenario. To save money, I tell the bagger to put as many items as possible in one bag. But when I get outside the bag breaks, spilling my adult diapers, hemorrhoid cream and my laxative medicine on the ground for the world to see. Not a pretty sight.

Apparently big government is not all we have to fear. Small government that is out of touch with us is a problem as well. I wonder where the 5 cents per bag is going.

Richard F. Dinsmore