Friday, October 10, 2008

AARP wants its seniors to pay more taxes

Wasn’t yesterday a great day? The temperature at our home on the South Side of Route 1 reached just over 73. We opened windows throughout the house to clean the inside air. We had noticed that we found ourselves napping more than usual and we had attributed it to the stale air in the house. With just a slight breeze, just enough to move the air through the house, we now have a place full of fresh air, and we didn’t fall asleep in the afternoon.

Gator wife has gone to work this morning. She says she’s going to do some grocery shopping before she comes home this noon. It’ll be close to noon before she gets here. She’s taking a couple of vacation days next week so she’ll be around just about all week. We have no particular plans but if she doesn’t use up her vacation time where she works, she’ll lose it.

I shouldn’t mention GW’s personal things, but this is Cancer Prevention Month so I’ll mention she had her annual mammogram this month. The results were normal, but she said the MMC unit in Scarborough has a new machine. According to her, the new digital procedure was very simple, fast, and painless. I mention this to remind everyone that we all should get cancer exams on various parts of our bodies. My brother passed several years ago because of cancer. He was relatively young, 61, but his diagnosis was simply too late.

One of GW’s dearest acquaintances died of breast cancer not too long ago, and we wouldn’t want anyone to go through her ordeal. So I’m joining the multitude of people and organizations urging people this month to be sure to get a cancer checkup scheduled, and that includes both male and female and is not restricted to the breast. The sooner cancer is found, the better the chance for a positive outcome.

While I’m on the topic of medicine, let me once again urge a “yes” vote on referendum question #1 in the November balloting. I cast my “yes” vote yesterday as I took advantage of the law allowing early voting. Question #1 asks people if they want to repeal a new tax that was enacted in the final moments of the last Legislature. It is popularly known as the “beverage tax” but beverages aren’t the only thing that the tax covers. All your medical payments will be taxed as well if the repeal effort is rejected.

I got a card from AARP yesterday that simply tells lies about what will happen if the tax is repealed. The card says that if the tax, designed as a new funding source for the outrageously (my word, not theirs) expensive Dirigo health plan, is repealed, 18-thousand Maine families will lose their access to affordable care. This is simply not true. First, there are only 11-thousand enrollees in Dirigo and half of them already had insurance before they switched. The rest of the number are people who are eligible for MaineCare, this state’s version of Medicaid, or better known as welfare, and included in Dirigo to inflate the enrollment numbers.

After five years Dirigo has only reached 10% of its enrollment goal and practically zero percent of its self-sustaining funding goal. AARP along with a coalition of other health care providers, the huge majority of which are on the public dole, wants all one million Mainers to pay the insurance of just 11-thousand Mainers. The card, like just about all those who support the tax, calls Dirigo “affordable health care.” It’s more expensive than private insurance was prior to Dirigo. In New Hampshire, comparable health care can be obtained for about half the cost of Dirigo. Only one problem: By law Mainers cannot buy health care from another state. I guess if the Democrats (who passed the tax late at night) call something “affordable,” it must be, right? Only very few can afford it.

You’re going to be inundated with the false statistics and claims from those who want the repeal defeated. Plain and simple, a “yes” votes eliminates nearly 80-million dollars in taxes, or about 62 dollars per person.

Oh, I said at the beginning that the claim the elimination of the tax would not end Dirigo, even though it should be ended. Funding for the program will simply remain as it is now, with a tax on the claimed, yet unproven offset savings resulting somehow, but not explained, in health care.

I can’t help but wonder how an organization such as AARP, supposedly formed to help older people, can consider supporting every tax this state promotes as a benefit to the elderly.

Oh. A sign I saw today: There’s a construction warning sign flashing through a series of informational messages in a construction zone along Route 114 between U.S. Route 1 and Paine Road in Scarborough. One of the pages says, “Go Red Sox.” I heartily agree with that sign as the American League Championship Series begins tonight in St. Petersburg against the Rays. So I’ll echo the sign: Go Red Sox!


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