Amend the Maine Constitution, AHCA bad for seniors, the self-driving car problem — Opinion — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

AHCA bad for seniors

The American Health Care Act, deeply flawed legislation, will hurt millions of Americans and their families. According to the Congressional Budget Office report, an estimated 23 million people will lose their health coverage by 2026 if this bill passes.

When one considers what the American Health Care Act would mean for Maine, you can see why this bill should not be enacted.

First, the bill would allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing health conditions. According to AARP, there are 123,155 Mainers between ages 50 and 64 living with a pre-existing condition. For many, the new premiums would be unaffordable.

Second, the bill heavily penalizes older Americans in this same age group. Once again, it is the insurance companies who come out on top because they will be allowed to charge five times what others pay for the exact same coverage. According to the budget office, premiums for a 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year would increase from $1,700 to $13,700 in 2026. Let’s call this what it is: An age tax.

In addition, the bill reduces Medicare funding, which would put us on the road to turning Medicare into a voucher system. The bill would also slash Medicaid by over $800 billion, ultimately harming those who are most at-risk.

This bill is neither about health nor about care. Please call Sen. Susan Collins today and urge her to oppose the American Health Care Act.

Roberta Downey


Amend the Maine Constitution

In the recent opinion of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court justices on ranked-choice voting, the justices referred to the “brave stand” taken by Joshua Chamberlain to take charge of the Augusta police force to ensure a governor would be seated after a disputed election when no candidate received a majority vote. The Maine Constitution was amended to allow for the election of the governor by plurality vote.

The voters of Maine expressed their clear outrage with our voting process in 2016 when they voted, by a substantial margin, to implement ranked-choice voting. The only difference between 2016 and 1880 was that in 2016, the outrage was manifested in the voting booth and not in the streets of Augusta.

The remedy for both instances of outrage is the same. It is time for our House and our Senate to make a “brave stand” and take the necessary steps to begin to amend the Constitution. Unless, of course, we have no Joshua Chamberlains left.

Cushing Samp


Trump’s Twitter soapbox

Social media has been taken up by political figures and others as an efficient means of communicating to the public. Twitter especially provides an excellent platform for publicizing statements. Just about anyone can follow politicians of interest for instant updates of their most recent news, direct from the source. Limited to 140 characters, tweets serve as a tool for highlighting a main point or headline statement because that’s just about all that can fit. No politician need wait for the next press conference or reporter to make an announcement when they can send it right from their phone.

The most iconic use of social media in politics is by President Donald Trump, as his preference for Twitter has become prominent in his time in office so far. Trump’s Twitter feeds the press everything from political opinions and criticisms to defensive rebuttals. Other politicians have adopted the use of Twitter as well, although not to the same extent. Trump’s soapbox is anything but eloquent, filled with verbal attacks, accusations and insults toward a number of groups that might oppose him, and contradictory at times. One-hundred-and-forty characters might sound limiting, but are enough for America to get to know what kind of person their president is.

Brookelyn Gingras


Self-driving car liability

There has been a lot of promotion lately for the self-driving car. Ford has basically said they are pushing to put all their car production into it. I think this is a dangerous idea. So far, some self-driving prototypes have been in accidents, and these are basically “new” cars, not 5 or 6 years old with 165,000 miles of wear and tear on them. I know how often my computer goes down, locks up, or just plain does not do what it is supposed to do, and the thought of relying on a computer to drive me to work is not comforting.

But my biggest concern is liability. If my self-driving car has a glitch and runs over a child in a crosswalk, is the death my fault or the manufacturer’s fault. If I would be at fault and technically in control (because I was the human in the car), why would I not be better off driving myself as I do now so that I could at least try to avoid the incident?

Vincent Ghelli

Bar Harbor

Pence walkouts shameful

A recent Other Voices editorial titled, “What the Pence walk-outs missed,” published in the May 25 BDN makes several salient points.

1. “Heaven forbid that these delicate snowflakes who couldn’t tolerate Pence might have to listen to anything they don’t agree with when they get out into the real world.”

2. “Have mercy on them when they ever have to defend one of their beliefs against arguments they have never bothered to listen to.”

3. “Pity them mightily when they encounter the ‘wonderful,’ messy, difficult diversity of the world, diversity which college is supposed to prepare them for but which they have chosen to wish away.”

4. “Pence gave them a speech worthy of their attention, which ironically and sadly the students who left were most in need of hearing.”

The foregoing obviously applies to every other institution where this shameful happening has occurred. University administrators should obtain the names of those students who walked out, request that they make a formal apology to the speaker and school administration, and withhold their degrees until they do so. Additionally, administrators must stand up against those students who arrogantly dictate who can and cannot be speakers at their universities.

As I pen this letter on Memorial Day, I am reminded of the thousands of men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifices of life and limb so that those students were given the freedom to immaturely, irresponsibly and rudely, further degrade the Christian values upon which our nation was founded.

Joe Bertolaccini