Poliquin and health care
I recently received a pamphlet trumpeting Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s award as a champion of health care innovation. As a physician, I could not imagine anyone less worthy. His political stance on repealing the Affordable Care Act threatens the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was created by the health care law, that wrestles with the thorny issues of actual delivery of care and quality of care.
A check of HeathCareChampionAward.org, listed on the pamphlet, found no such website. More digging led me to the sponsoring organization for these awards. The American Life Sciences Innovation Council describes itself as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.” Its board consists of five individuals. Four are tied to the pharmaceutical industry and one works for a company that works to frame issues for campaigns.
Not surprisingly, with Poliquin, we are back to his Wall Street cronies. There is nothing on the flyer about Poliquin working to lower the cost of medication in Medicare Part D. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have raised costs for patients using Medicare Part D. The “innovation” is all about his work protecting profits for pharmaceutical and technology companies.
Poliquin’s work creates higher cost care for us and higher profits for these companies. He has done nothing to support health care delivery in rural Maine.
Challenge violence and oppression
I was thrilled to attend the recent Bangor City Council meeting at which the members voted unanimously to designate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This is recognition that is long overdue. Those of us who are white owe a great deal to the Native community in Maine, and have much to atone for in our treatment of their people, their lands, and their waters.
Mayor Joe Baldacci made another suggestion: that the City of Bangor join with the Penobscot Nation to educate our community about the history of the Penobscot River. In light of recent attacks by the state of Maine on the Penobscot Nation’s stewardship of the river, this would be a timely and meaningful initiative.
I am a member of the committee of the Peace & Justice Center that organizes the annual End Violence Together event in downtown Bangor. I am reminded by the state’s attempts to take away the Penobscot Nation’s rights to protect the river that carries their name, as well as by the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, that violence comes in many, many different forms. Some are obvious to see, others are quietly incorporated into our institutions and policies, into our statues, our mascots, and our holidays.
Indigenous People’s Day and End Violence Together are a start. But if we truly wish to end violence, we need to continuously challenge institutionalized oppression and demand changes that will promote dignity, fairness, and security for all peoples.
“As soon as you go down that path, you are in the swamp,” Rep. Bruce Poliquin recently said about sharing his thoughts with a free press.
So I went to Washington looking for the swamp. I found the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives, the Smithsonian, and the US Constitution. I found a government that built our roads, enforces our laws, fought the Nazis, kept Russia in its place, rescued us from The Great Recession, got Osama bin Laden and provided health care to millions. I found the government that Mr. Smith was proud of in “ Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but no swamp.
Mr. Smith did find a swamp with a propaganda machine and an incompetent politician, both controlled by a corrupt oligarch.
Then I saw it. Vladimir Putin and the Koch brothers are the oligarchs. They control politicians like Donald Trump, Poliquin and Gov. Paul LePage with lobbyists, money and fake news machines. These incompetent politicians pervert American values like a free press, and are incapable of addressing real problems like consumer debt, wealth inequality, health care and catastrophic floods caused by global warming.
Trump sides with neo-Nazis and colludes with Russia. Maine stagnates in a recession while LePage rejects federal funds. Poliquin hides. They all try to cut taxes for their wealthy oligarch masters. This increases our national debt, giving them an excuse to cut essential government programs. They con people into the swamp and get them to vote against their own best interests.
The monstrosity the Republican Party has become is the swamp.