Medicaid expansion benefits

Thank you to Sen. Tom Saviello for setting the record straight about Medicaid in Maine in an Aug 21 BDN OpEd. Gov. Paul LePage’s refusal to expand Medicaid under Obamacare has cost the state tremendously.

States that did expand Medicaid saw uninsured rates decline and access to care increase — obviously. Perhaps less obvious, their economies improved as well. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation review, Colorado supported 31,074 additional jobs because of Medicaid expansion as of the 2015-2016 fiscal year, while Kentucky’s expansion would create an estimated 40,000 jobs through 2021.

The Kaiser Family Foundation also reported that in Ohio most expansion enrollees who were unemployed but looking for work said that Medicaid enrollment made it easier to seek employment, and those who were employed reported that Medicaid enrollment made it easier to continue working.

Maine might have realized similar benefits, with the federal government picking up most of the cost.

Maine voters will make their preference for expansion known in November.

But Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King must keep their guard up now as the GOP looks to the 2018 budget process and upcoming tax reform to kill the expansion and restructure Medicaid as a block grant. Don’t let them steal health care from our neediest neighbors.

Alison Hall


Political correctness

Lately, you cannot revere your heroes of the antebellum South if you are white, so who is surprised when the more volatile among us takes to the streets.

Why are we so scared of that weird walnut in North Korea when he threatens to give Guam a close shave with missiles? Is it because we forget the ancient saying about peace, “Si vis pacem, para bellum”?

We Americans cannot seem to hold more than a single thought in our heads without giving ourselves a headache. Wars occur because some nation shows weakness and even after we wiped out the Neanderthals, we persist in sitting fat and happy and ignorant until someone like the Dear Leader makes trouble.

At the root of these two areas of controversy is an unmistakable belief on my part that education is in the crapper and tolerance of any kind is only for the currently politically correct.

Now some probably will label me a racist. So what? Today, the world is deteriorating to the point of anarchy and disorder. Just look who we elected president? Need I write more?

Frederick Mendel


Making the world a better place

Can I do anything meaningful and helpful? At 56 years old, I am raising a child again. She is 7. I am a full-time, stay-at-home mom and homemaker. It is my job to take care of my child’s basic needs, such as roof, food, clothes, health care. But since I am her mother and not her babysitter, it is also my responsibility to show and teach her kindness, tolerance, self-control, critical thinking. Is it enough? Am I doing my part to make the world a better place? To stand up against injustice?

I was an active member of the PTA. I was a voting delegate to conventions for different organizations. I chaired committees and held office in good-works charities and municipal boards. I testified before a Maine Senate committee. I wrote three ordinances currently on the books. I attended peaceful protests. I wrote letters to the editor. Various issues. Many places. Different times.

My current circumstances limit my ability and desire to join with activists, attend meetings, march. But I can tell my young child that hate is always wrong. By my behavior, I can show her that I am not a racist or a sexist or a bigot of any stripe. I can tell her as many times as I tell her to look both ways before crossing the street that bigotry, intolerance and hate is wrong.

Is it enough?

Ruth Fenton


LePage defends Confederate scoundrels

Gov. Paul LePage has decided to compare monuments to the traitors who started a war to defend slavery to the innocent victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack.

Please tell the governor that no other country erects monuments to the men who betrayed it. Even Russia tore down the statues erected to the Communist fathers of the Soviet Union.

The least we could do, 150 years after the heinous betrayal of the Civil War that cost more than 600,000 American lives, is to remove from places of honor the leaders of that insurrection.

The likenesses of such scoundrels belong in museums and history books, not in the public square.

Could it be that LePage believes that the defenders of chattel slavery deserve to be put on a pedestal? Does he think their cause was just? If so, shame on him.

Michael Grunko

Chebeague Island

White supremacists to blame for Charlottesville

On Aug. 11, a torch wielding mob descended on the University of Virginia campus chanting Nazi slogans. People filmed the events with their smartphones. The nation could see events unfolding in near real time.

On Aug. 12, there were yet more crowds of chanting neo-Nazis. There were also militias. The governor of Virginia said these militiamen had better equipment than the police. He even suggested that the police were intimidated into inaction by their mere presence.

Vice News interviewed some of these white supremacists and documented their actions. They spoke of preparing for violence, killing the counterprotesters and creating an American “homeland.” Around 1:40 pm, a car plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

On Aug. 17, around 5 p.m. I tuned into “Across the Aisle” on Maine Public Radio. One of the regular contributors is Meredith Burgess, a former Republican state legislator. When asked to comment on Gov. Paul LePage’s response to the events in Charlottesville, she echoed his claims that “both sides” were to blame and that the real issue was “monuments, and what they stand for.”

Burgess gave no details of the so-called “problems” with the counterprotesters. Did they chant dehumanizing slogans at ethnic or religious minorities? Did they show up in military gear or kill people by running them down with cars?

No, they did not.

In light of the evidence, the “problems” rest squarely with the white supremacists. President Donald Trump, LePage and Burgess should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for suggesting otherwise.

Dylan Cookson