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Voting in 2020
In this year of uncertainty about whether your vote will be accepted or counted, of whether you should vote in person or by mail, of disparaging those who vote in person or those who vote by mail — I believe it is time for all of us to take a deep breath and ponder our own feelings. What do we feel will satisfy our own need for safety or lack thereof?
It’s quite apparent that nobody is going to change anyone’s mind at this point in time. Condemning others for their choice in the method they vote is not productive and will not make one bit of difference in the end. The one thing we should all be doing is ensuring that we get a ballot and make sure that that ballot reaches our polling places.
If people have questions on how to fill out a ballot, they should feel free to call the secretary of state’s office or their town office. They should Listen to them, and if they still have questions, ask them to explain or answer those questions to the point where they understand fully how to fill out a ballot.
These steps are just as important if someone mails in their ballot, votes in person or drops their ballot off at their polling station early. In my opinion, the one difference between voting on election day and asking for an absentee ballot is you should have more time to ponder each and every choice presented to you if you have a ballot.
A cure not a bandaid
Denise McDonough’s opinion piece on Monday, Aug. 24, that building a new ambulatory surgical center in Topsham, “will help lower health care costs for Mainers,” is ignoring the obvious. It’s past time to take the paper-pushing, shell game insurance company profits out of the health care equation, an equation to which for-profit insurance companies add nothing of value, except to their shareholders.
It’s past time for this country to join the rest of the developed world in providing all of its citizens access to health care without going bankrupt. You don’t see the rest of the world clamoring to have our system. Medicare for all will do far more for the country and help far more Mainers to get equal, more affordable access to health care than a new center in Topsham. We need a nationwide cure, not a city-by-city, state-by-state bandage.
Be careful out there
Maine has faced a number of challenges in the past six months stemming from COVID-19: economic fallout, anxiety, closings, re-openings, along with disagreements over science and best procedures. There’s been a clear lack of a national strategy or support for governors and localities.
I’ve been comforted by the able leadership of Gov. Janet Mills, Dr. Nirav Shah and the team of public servants doing whatever could be done to educate us and keep Maine safe. Despite being a rural state, we are at risk everywhere (witness Millinocket) and other rural states that have not taken the same level of precautions have had big problems. Most visitors to Maine seem to have respected our norms in public.
Anxiety around school openings is understandable and flu season is around the corner. Thank you to the governor for following science and taking the heat, but standing on solid ground.
We’re in this together, but be careful out there.
Access to dental care
The way dentistry is viewed in America is ridiculous in that teeth are treated as luxury bones that aren’t connected to the rest of your health in any way, shape, or form. While this is problematic for anyone who cares about their health, it presents unique difficulties to anyone on Medicare or MaineCare, particularly for people like me who are kidney patients.
Currently, I’m working to get on the kidney transplant list, and in order to accomplish this there are certain tests I have to take and pass — EKG, chest X-ray, lab work and so on. My insurance covers these with no problem whatsoever. Dental work, however, is not covered at all if a person is over 21, unless it’s an emergency. Yet, it’s vitally important for me to see a dentist and get cleared, because infection can easily and quickly get into the bloodstream from the mouth and cause serious illness or death.
The gap in care needs to close. The health and wellness of all American citizens is sorely neglected, and it seems our only method to alleviate this absurd gap in health care is to implement Medicare for All as suggested by Sen. Bernie Sanders, which will cover general health care, prescriptions, and dental. As it should, not just for disabled folks like me, but for everyone else, too.