Friday, June 23, 2017

Letters to the editor

Dear Editor,

Don’t Kill the Golden Goose

If you’re a gainfully employed fifty to sixty-four year old, thank you. But this letter’s not really for you; it’s for those of us who may not see the ax falling on your neck. And forgive us for fleeing the political brouhaha and turning on a Lifetime movie (it’s not that we need to see the good guys win; we just want to know who the good guys are for a change!). 

We’re talking American Health Care Act (AHCA) here, in case you didn’t guess. Yes, you’re a Mainer, so you already know the Medicare and Medicaid impacts would be real tough here. And pre-existing conditions? Don’t even go there. We’re not going to talk about those (and other problems with AHCA), but the Age Tax piece, let’s think about that—because it would hobble our good breadwinners.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says forty-five to fifty-four year olds average the highest weekly earnings; but those earnings stay right up there for the next ten years, as well. These 6.1 million fifty to sixty-four year old Americans are out there working hard, but often in small companies—which puts them in the individual (non-group) health insurance market. Insurance companies will be able to charge these productive folks five times (or more) what others pay for the same coverage. Huh? 
AARP (a non-partisan group) put together figures that show a fifty-five year old Mainer earning $25,000 a year, could have a premium increase of as much as $7,602. And a sixty-four year old Mainer earning $25,000 annually could see an increase of as much as $12,701.  

To siphon big chunks of income from these folks into insurance company pockets does not make good sense. Those of us who’ve retired—and those under fifty who’ve not reached peak earning years—need older workers to help shoulder the tax bill. Why would we single out this group for discrimination? Why not find a more equitable distribution of health care costs?

Let’s insist on new legislation that not only reconsiders cuts to many critical health programs, but also eliminates a discriminatory Age Tax. The Age Tax would hurt a lot of productive Maine people, so don’t support it. We don’t want those folks to get discouraged, retire early, and turn to the Hallmark Channel.

Faye Lakeman
Rev. Dan Lakeman, M.Div.

Dear Editor,

I heard a fellow say the other day, that having faith didn’t matter one bit to him in the war years! I beg to differ on that matter.

You see, I’m living proof that it is in the eye of the beholder; that faith is a shield in times of trouble. Oh, faith is not new to me. I accepted faith when I was a wee-lad. Faith was my strong arm throughout my life. I don’t believe for a moment that having faith prevents one from being harmed. Faith states, “I have a calling for you.”

Since I was very young, faith interceded in my life. I am 91 years old and to state all the benefits would take too much room in this article. This past Memorial Day brought back many thoughts. It was the year of 1945. I was 16-years-old. I just stepped on the beach of Iwo Jima, a Japanese island in the Pacific, as a Marine. I had no idea what to expect.

I was suddenly introduced to the rudiments of war! Tiny eruptions in the black volcanic sand caught my eye. They were all around me. Small holes appeared in my comrade’s head, between the eyes and we were told that the Japanese wore glasses and couldn’t see well! 

I glanced upward and said, “I think I could use your help.” The bullets continued to break the sand all around me as we advanced.

In the course of 36 days, I felt the warmth of the bullets as they past my body. Even in the valley that I traversed, puffs of exploding mortars were all around me as I helped the wounded. There was little to protect the body, you see all we wore was utility jackets and pants. The strong arm of faith was my shield.

Those of you that came home: There were and are reasons. My thoughts are that you were spared to pass on faith for the benefit of your fellow man.

These are my thoughts on this memorial time of year.

Fred Collins

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