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Fix a broken system for Maine kids

Kids are in crisis and our system is broken. There is a mental health emergency in Maine for any child who may require hospitalization. Maine has a shortage of pediatric hospital beds so most families will utilize their local emergency room for mental health care needs. The problem is most children will not spend a day or two in the ER waiting for a hospital bed to open, they will spend weeks where their behaviors will worsen, and some will even become violent.

As a mental health professional, I know the importance of ensuring that children receive prompt care and that includes mental health care as well. That is why I am supporting LD 118, which is a bill to address Maine’s shortage of behavioral health services for minors. This bill will require the Department of Health and Human Services to collect the data on how many children are remaining in emergency rooms for extended stays (beyond 24 hours) and the reason for the long stay.

DHHS will also be required to post these data where they are accessible to the public. The department will have a new requirement to report back to a legislative committee on what they are doing to bring these numbers down and how they are working with families to improve the mental health of their children and to assist hospitals in placing children in more appropriate placements. Let us help fix our broken system and support LD 118. People should call their legislators today.

Rachael Cox


Health care solutions

As a Maine-based small business owner for over 17 years, we struggle with health care affordability. That’s why we firmly believe that now, more than ever, we need better solutions to keep costs from skyrocketing.

Maine’s economy has always been challenging for small businesses, whether its high electricity costs or fuel prices, and it struggles to keep pace with the rest of New England because costs always continue to go up. To get our state’s economy on the right track, looking for solutions to rising health care costs has to be on the front burner.

We have watched as hospitals have consolidated across the state, using the promise of lowered costs to justify those mergers, but, the costs of health care are still going up. Patients shouldn’t have to go bargain hunting for a procedure — the costs are all over the place and it doesn’t make sense. Health care isn’t like shopping for a sofa where you can say: “I should have bought it when I saw it at Marden’s.” This is health care where reasonable pricing and good outcomes should be critical components of a functioning system.

Why are costs so high? The whole point of health care is to help people, and medical providers take an oath to “do no harm.” If those who provide the care subscribe to that oath, so should hospital executives. Exorbitant salaries and astronomical facility fees are not the answer.

Alan Whitney
Laci Daigle
Whitney’s Supermarket


NECEC is a good deal

A Canadian utility company called Hydro-Quebec and Central Maine Power want to deliver electricity to Maine and throughout New England. Some Mainers are upse t about this proposal, called the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), but I support it.

I like the prospect of more hydroelectricity for Maine and New England. Hydro is a good source of energy. True, this proposal is in Hydro-Quebec’s business interest. But name me a company out there that takes risks and doesn’t want a financial return. The question is will this benefit the people of Maine? According to what I have read, the project will provide over $200 million in lowered energy costs and other benefits for Maine people. The NECEC will also provide 1,600 good paying construction jobs for Mainers.

If people watched what happened in Texas with the grid going down, it was a wake-up call. This project will help upgrade our power grid at zero cost to us. That seems smart. It would be good if we could produce enough hydro energy in Maine to meet our needs but without that we need to look to our friend in the North. We are in a global economy and Canada is Maine’s single largest trading partner.

Canada is a trusted ally and friend. There’s a lot of cheap, clean energy just up over the border. It can be transmitted here with very little difficulty. The NECEC deal is as good as they come. I hope my fellow Mainers agree and that they will make their voices heard.

Ralph Canney

Old Town