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Protect Mainers, not profits
Something needs to be done to control rising health care and prescription drug costs. I hope our lawmakers will take action this year and vote to help Mainers understand what is driving up costs.
We need to prevent price gouging and address high out of control prescription drug costs. I hope lawmakers will support the Making Health Care Work for Maine bill package that will help protect Mainers, not drug company profits.
Fully reopening schools in person
On day one, President Biden signed an executive order to advance and support racial “equity” through the federal government. However, data suggest there are systemic racial disparities in the availability of in-person learning. In a Politico report, “Nationwide, 52 percent of white fourth graders were back inside public schools full time by the end of February … But between 54 and 69 percent of Black, Hispanic, and Asian fourth graders were enrolled in full-time remote instruction at that point.” These were estimates from a survey conducted at that time. School closures from the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionately harmed poor and minority children.
The effects on minority children have been painful. Grades are down, absence is higher and many are suffering mentally. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “The blunt fact is that it is Democrats … who have presided over one of the worst blows to the education of disadvantaged Americans in history.” Data suggest that schools have a lower transmission rate, and that more children ages 0 to 17 died during the 2018-19 flu season than COVID-19.
More people are getting vaccinated as we near herd immunity to get us over the hump. Schools in the state need to reopen full time for in-person learning by the fall. If our politicians genuinely cared about the equity of our children and the harm that comes from not learning in school, then they would follow the actual science. The CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci concur on reopening.
Retirement security is possible
LD 1622, which is before the legislature this year, will make a tremendous difference for Mainers when they retire. Currently, by my calculations, a third of employees in Maine have no retirement savings.
Under LD 1622, employees will have the option to have a payroll deduction that will be invested for their retirement. Small and medium businesses will not contribute to the fund and need only set up the payroll deduction. This will make a huge difference for Mainers who will be better able to meet their basic needs when they retire. Taxpayers will save millions of dollars from a reduction in public assistance.
LD 1622 has bipartisan support and deserves to be the new standard for retirement financial well-being. People can help make their and their family’s “golden years” affordable and secure. For more information, contact AARP Maine.