Saturday, July 19, 2008

Boomers; Can we find the truth?

The weekend has once again taken over. For some, it’s a time of fun and games. Others take care of chores around their homes. And some have to report for work. The way this weekend started out last night, that last group might be the luckiest.

The forecast for the weekend isn’t a whole lot better, but at least we probably won’t have the destruction from any storms like that which came with the ones late Friday afternoon. So far the Saturday radar doesn’t show any real storms heading into the Greater Portland area and those to the west of us appear to be heading into extreme southern sections. But, as we saw Friday afternoon, it doesn’t take long for that radar map to undergo a major change.

My little plot of ground got some extremely heavy rain and some very loud boomers passed somewhat near. I didn’t see any major lightning, except for a few flashes, until early evening and then they were sparse. But I listen to a police monitor and the reports of lightning strikes and major damage came from several communities. The Saturday morning news confirmed the savagery of Mother Nature.

I would guess one of the two sides in the People’s Veto debate is lying. Either we who opposed the tax increase are doing it to boost big business interests or the claim by the tax proponents that repealing the tax will jeopardize the insurance for 50-60 thousand needy adults and children is true.

Let’s look at it. As the last session of the Legislature ground to an end, the Democrats meeting with the Governor very late at night agreed on a tax increase on beverages, just about all of them except milk products. They included a 1.8% surcharge, another name for tax, on paid insurance claims. Not much has been said about that last one, but it simply means that if you do have insurance now and visit a doctor, or a specialist, or a hospital or other medical facility, you’ll find the cost has increased. Technically, the insurance companies will have to pay when your claim is honored, but is there anyone who thinks that cost along with administrative costs won’t be passed on to the insured?

The combine beverage and insurance tax was then passed by the full legislature just before adjournment. There was no public hearing nor public input. I heard a person who identified herself as a doctor say Friday night on television that the measure had months of public input prior to the passage. I was blind and deaf to all that input.

The People’s Veto did have the backing of much of the beverage industry, but also was supported by the Maine Chamber of Commerce, dozens of small “Mom and Pop” stores, 90-thousand petition signers, and more. On the other hand, I heard a report Thursday morning on the radio where the governor is alleged to have said if the tax is repealed, 58-thousand adults and children could lose their health insurance and that lady on the television last night used the number 50-thousand. Since Dirigo has only 12-thousand currently enrolled (That new figure was also on the radio Thursday), it puzzles me where the 50-thousand or more figure comes from.

At least now we know two of the main talking points that will be spread by those favoring this huge tax increase that every man, woman and child in the state will have to pay to raise the 75 or more million dollars to pay for insurance of 12-thousand people, half of which already had their own private insurance until the state offered a plan where it would pay for at least part of it.

The two points: The People’s Veto is brainchild of a big out of state beverage industry to save them money, how I don’t know since the taxes will be passed to consumers, and the figure to be used is somewhere around 50-thousand people even though the total enrollment of Dirigo has never even approached that number.

Or, and more likely, is the welfare industry afraid its free ride is in jeopardy? We have learned recently that the Dirigo plan also covers some people on MaineCare, Maine’s version of Medicaid, and other state welfare services. Is fear of a weakening of our welfare state the real reason behind the opposition to Mainers facing a massive new tax in spite of the increasing hardships of making ends meet? Are these “medical professionals” afraid the repeal of this tax just might start a tax revolt that will affect their income? Hmmmm? Something to think about, I think.

Time now to enjoy the weekend. Is this the sun I see on this Saturday morning? Enjoy your weekend and we’ll be back Monday.


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