In January, we start giving up millions

Suppose, just suppose, other states were receiving millions of dollars in federal aid to help support their doctors and hospitals, money that was unavailable to us in Maine.

We'd be sore about that. Outraged would be more like it.

But that is exactly what will begin happening on Jan. 1, 2014, when the federal government begins sending big checks to other states to extend their Medicaid health care programs.

The irony here is that we will not receive our fair share by choice  — or, more precisely, our governor's choice.

Gov. Paul LePage decided during the last legislative session to veto a bipartisan bill that would have allowed Maine, like at least 25 other states so far, to move forward with the federal program.

Although the bill allowing us to participate passed with a bipartisan majority, there were not enough Republican votes to overturn the governor's veto.

About 70 percent of the people who would have been eligible for this medical coverage are the working poor, people who hold low-wage jobs or do seasonal work for employers who do not provide health care insurance.

That includes single people earning up to $15,856 a year, or a family of three earning up to $26,951.

Remember, that's "up to" that amount. Many of the people who will be denied coverage make far less.

The governor's notion is that a family of three earning, perhaps, $16,000 a year, will buy housing, clothing, utilities, maintain an automobile and then have $3,000 to $6,000 left over to buy health insurance.

And that insurance is likely to include $50 co-pays and have a very high deductible before it covers any medical expenses.

That is just not realistic.

Nor will many of these people be eligible for federal subsidies to help pay for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal government has promised to pay 100 percent of the cost of covering these low-income Mainers for three years. After that, the federal match gradually declines to 90 percent after 10 years.

The proposal the governor rejected during the last legislative session would have included a three-year sunset provision, plus it would have required a co-pay for services for those participating in the program to discourage overuse.

That would have been three years of medical coverage for 70,000 Mainers plus 24,000 others who currently receive coverage but will lose it in January — all without any state tax money.

After the first three years, the Legislature would hire a consulting company to analyze the program to see whether it is worth continuing, according to the failed compromise bill.

The Legislature and the person sitting in the governor's chair at that time could continue or discontinue the program.

Without the program, these people — who are not poor enough to participate in full Medicaid but too poor for the ACA health exchanges — will continue to get sick and, when sick enough, visit Maine's emergency rooms for care.

When they fail to pay for that care, as most of them will, hospitals will pass that loss back to their paying customers — meaning those of us who work and have insurance.

Last week, the Republican governor and Republican legislature of Michigan decided this program, this support for their doctors and hospitals, was too important to pass up.

Those 25 states, including some with very conservative governors, are moving forward.

We can stubbornly refuse to participate in this program. When we do, the money set aside for Maine will be spent in other states.

We will forgo the opportunity to create an estimated 4,000 health care jobs in Maine.

And we can sit back and watch our money disappear at an eventual rate of:

$701,370 a day.

$5 million per week.

$256 million per year — or about $76 million more than the governor fought hard to repay Maine's hospitals.

Extending this program may bug the governor philosophically, but as a humanitarian and business proposition, this Medicaid expansion makes sense for Maine.

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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David Lingard Jr's picture

You know what...

You know what you all have good ideas and good opinions but the others you all need a reality check. I am not full of at all I can not take full care for myself because of my disabilities. The ones who think they know it all you need to ask more then one person or try to get to know someone else besides the ones you know to find out whats going on for others. You all who say that it is Maine cares fault you are wrong. Try to find something else to blame besides a program that actually helps people in need. We all point fingers at others when we do not understand whether we know it or not. We have a subconscious part of our brain that actually controls us more then we know or want to admit. So what we are discussing will never come to a compromise because people do not think there are other ways then there selves way. Oh well much love to you all anyways I am done arguing for now on something I know first hand about. We need others with voices to start saying whats what as well. I hope this will happen sooner then later.

SCOTT GRAY's picture

So, what I get out of this

So, what I get out of this article is that the sun journal is in support of more " Tax Payer Supported Jobs ". This is the money stolen from working people of this country, by our country, that would be used to support 4000 other people who will most likely be getting more pay, vacation time, and benefits than most of the people that are un-willingly forced into financially support these "GOVERNMENT CREATED POSITIONS ". Now, maybe if these millions of dollars would be put into investigating and punishing insurance fraud and put into eliminating the suing of doctors, hospitals, etc., and were put into investigating the pharmaceutical companies raping of people, then I might think that insurance could, in the future, maybe become affordable to the average working American citizen. On another note,the Sun Journal did realistically point out the fact that co-pays help keep people from "over using" insurance, so, DUHH state of Maine, why wouldn't you do the same for state ins.? Must be that they don't care if people abuse programs that are supported by our "Forced From Us " tax dollars.

Steve  Dosh's picture

In January, we start giving up millions

Mainers , 14:14 hst ? Saturday
Blame it on you Republican legislators. All of 'em . From DC to ME . They can not decide themselves out of a paper bag . We didn't \/ote for them
Dr. Dosh , HI

Steve  Dosh's picture

Mainers , 14:14 hst ?

Mainers , 14:14 hst ? Saturday
All you legislators , ( to a woman ) , have their pensions , annuities , and health care already . For liƒe
Dr. Dosh , HI
read this --> <--
" You can fool some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time , but all the people all the time , Susan & Paul " Who said that ? i just did <3 hth •

Steve  Dosh's picture

Mainers , 14:14 hst ?

Mainers , 14:14 hst ? Saturday
All you legislators , ( to a woman ) , have their pensions , annuities , and health care already . For liƒe
Dr. Dosh , HI
read this --> <--
" You can fool some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time , but all the people all the time , Susan & Paul " Who said that ? i just did <3 hth •

David Lingard Jr's picture

oh boy....

Will the madness ever stop? Will we ever come to a happy medium in this country between the fortunate and unfortunate? I highly doubt it I hear so much much of one way that people believe that they say there is no other way. This is ridiculous and if this continues we will never come to a happy medium. I know this country will someday will change for the good but the citizens who think that they are better then other will never change. These people also think they know it all which they do not. They always count on what they see in there life not others lives. When you try to explain another way they do not believe you because it is not what they know and they are to proud of themselves to even think of another way of life. TO BAD is what it is.

So Sad

I think that this governor has botched this one up so badly, but refuses to change because of his stupidity. So many people will suffer but he does not care...bottom line!!! I have to ask myself why he ever ran for governor of this state because he certainly doesn't care for anyone of us. People that stick up for him are just as ignorant of what is really going . He hasn't done a thing to help this state...oh how I wish he would read all the comments that have been left about him from the time he took office...maybe he would have a change of heart, but then again , you need a heart in order to change it..right???

Bob White's picture

Pay mow or later

"When they fail to pay for that care, as most of them will, hospitals will pass that loss back to their paying customers — meaning those of us who work and have insurance."
So what's the difference whether we pay by the federal government or we pay out of pocket? PEOPLE we are the federal government so what does it matter we are going to pay.
One other thing the single mom of two well I guess she should have thought threw things a bit more.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

What is the difference Bob?

What is the difference Bob? I'll tell you what the difference is Bob! The federal government is just another middle man taking its cut as money changes hands Bob. That is the difference Bob. You'll end up paying more due to government inefficiency Bob. That is the difference Bob.

 's picture

More due to government inefficiency?

Ok Mark, your evidence. Name a few private enterprises that have not gone bankrupt over the last 232 years. Oh, they all do well why. Because of mismanagement and corruption thank you. Government inefficiency is public inefficiency. Private inefficiency is simply theft. Taxes are not theft; they are our public responsibility. Oh I know that's something you don't acknowledge.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“Private inefficiency is

“Private inefficiency is simply theft. Taxes are not theft; they are our public responsibility. Oh I know that's something you don't acknowledge.”

Up is down, left is right. You also have it backwards.

In a free market, people can choose NOT do business with a poorly run company. I don’t have the choice not to pay homage to a poorly run government – they have guns and bullets to force my will. I’m sure that Roman empires felt it was a responsibility to pay homage to the government too.

How did that work out for Rome?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Actually, there are more

Actually, there are more companies than you think that are older than 232 years:

Moreover, not all companies go out of existence because they are mismanaged. A maker of buggy whips, for example, simply lost demand for its product. There are some business that get bombed out of existence due to war. There are many reasons other than mismanagement for the demise of a business.

You are simply being foolish if you stick with the following assertion: " Oh,they all do [go bankrupt] well why. Because of mismanagement and corruption thank you." Don't be foolish.

Most importantly, there is a world of difference between a poor performing business and a poor performing government. A citizen can walk away from a poor performing business to a competitor, it is more difficult for a citizen to walk away from a poor performing government. Just look to natural law. Diversity (plurality of businesses) of a species improves its chances of survival. Lack of diversity (centralized government) makes a species vulnerable to extinction.

David Lingard Jr's picture

Paying for the bill....

Yes eventually we all will pay the bill one way or another but stop pointing fingers at other that are not like you and play the blame game.

Bob White's picture

I'm not pointing the finger

I'm not pointing the finger at anyone but why do people keep making excuses for these people that could take care of themselves or they make foolish choices. Have you ever heard of the sink or swim saying?

 's picture

Your conclusion is based not on real people, but false

assumptions. You assume that people who need health care and can't afford it could if they made other choices. You have no evidence, no facts, to support this assumption.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Bob you need to relocate......

Bob, you need to relocate to planet Earth. You are so far out of touch with reality it's almost comical.
These aren't people who could "take care of themselves" better. These are people who are taking care of themselves. Times have changed, this isn't the seventies or eighties where you just walk into a p,lace and go to work. Companies aren't offering benefits anymore. Even large corporations are cutting health benefits to earn more money. Companies are laying off workers, especially long time workers. It's cheaper to hire a new guy to do the same job as the long term guy, only for a fraction of the pay, and no benefits. Some places are even trying to call 34 hour per week employees, part time. It's all about making more money. We need the Government to make healthcare affordable for those working with out it. Even if you work and have insurance now. That may change overnight. Tomorrow you'll be bitching about how expensive healthcare is...................

There, tell me everything I said is foolish, then call me an idiot again:0 :) :(

Bob White's picture

Frank I don't think your the

Frank I don't think your the best person to speak on getting a job don't you just sit at home collecting a check?

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Actualy two checks...........

But if you must know, I've had many jobs, I've even had two careers. I retired from one and had to leave the second. I do know a thing or two about getting and needing a job. Thank you for asking.........................

 's picture

Frank, you don't understand Bob and Mark

If they looked for the real reasons why hard working people go hungry or die prematurely, they would discover that their holy grail - free market, unregulated capitalism - can not produce enough nor distribute it well enough to support our society or any other. Anarchistic capitalism is a fatally flawed economic system which simply fails in its primary mission time and time again. It sacrifices some for the benefit of others. Naturally the "others" are overwhelmingly in support; while the "some" look for a better system. Shockingly, the better system has long been known. It's documented in New Testament Christianity which itself was an answer to Roman tyranny. Not in fundamentalist Christianity which as in all fundamentalism is an accompaniment to anarchistic capitalism the modern restatement of Roman tyranny. But in the real so often forgotten message of community.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I'm not to sure..................

I'm not to sure I want to understand Mark, and Bob. You can explain it any which way you want. I described what is actually happening in the real world. The real reason people go hungry and die prematurely is, they don't earn enough money. There are programs in place to help with things like food, rent and other general assistance programs. That is paid for with taxpayer money, money I don't mind paying. Health insurance should be no different.
There is now a program in place, which I'm told closely resembles the Medicare plan rolled out back in the sixties. It to, had a bunch of problems, and no one trusted it. I'm sure there were those who demanded it's demise long before they even gave it a try. Look at it now. That same program is keeping me alive to this day. Shouldn't my children and my children's children, have the same opportunities I have had. This has nothing to do with "Anarchistic Capitalism, or Roman Tyranny", It has everything to do with giving something new a chance, that's all..............

Stacey Hall's picture

"foolish choices"

So, lets try this Bob.
A woman marries a man in college.
He earns a bachelor's degree in accounting.
He gets a job where he can find it, not in his field of study, because there are none available there - so he slings burgers while she waits tables.
Their birth control fails and she gets pregnant.
It' a rough pregnancy that means medically she cannot continue to work.
He gets a second job but the stress is killing him. Unbenounced to her he starts "borrowing" his mother's pain pills.
She has her child and goes back to work, he has mood swings and loses his second job and starts taking more pills.
She's not sure why he is the way he is and she's exhausted from work and worry while caring for their child that she's afraid to leave with him because his moods have become so violent.
She finally catches him popping pills and is heartbroken and leaves with her child.
Court fees pile up, child care takes 1/2 of her pay so she takes a second job which takes more pay and she never gets to see her child. The electric company shuts her off, she has a prepaid phone so daycare (who is raising her child) can call her, and she gets sneered at while she walks into the welfare office to apply for help so she doesn't lose her heat or the roof over her child's head. While she waits on your table she gets to hear about the worthless people that make choices to drain you of your tax dollars and she's earning servers wages - which mean that 10% crappy tip you leave brings her up to minimum wage that won't pay her rent let alone her utilities - but HEY, she's just a pos that made bad choices and you get to lay your head on a fluffy pillow tonight without a care in the world while she walks to her next job and a babysitter kisses her kid goodnight.
That's the reality of most of the welfare recipients, but you stuck up people only see the surface and judge away like you know anything about the real world beyond your own self centered noses. Most people that make statements like you do Bob, could not survive on the snap challenge. Things happen that are out of your control sometimes. Things that drain you and almost destroy you. People like you are just another sledgehammer to the person that is wondering why they even bother to try to survive.

Bob White's picture

There you go making excuses

There you go making excuses for her. What did she go to college for you didn't mention that in your story. Please don't judge me you don't know my story trust me my story isn't full of fairy tales and unicorns but I have worked hard since I was 13 years old. I worked full time when I was in high school sure I guess I wasn't the coolest person because I didn't smoke or drink or because I wanted to earn money to buy things for myself. Everything that I bought I bought on my own dime. After high school I tried college yes I paid for that but I didn't like it so guess what instead of wasting time and money I went to work. I worked anywhere from 60 to 70 plus hours in construction starting at the bottom and working my way up. Up till this point it had been ok easy all I head to do was work but a small bump came along in the form of my first child. I was 20 my girlfriend was 17 and in school. She finished her last year of school very pregnant and got strait A's as well as I got a second job plus she had one I'm not sure how many hours I was working but it didn't matter and I didn't complain I had got me in this position. A few things I did think of though was people that have babies young tend to have more babies young well guess what I wasn't going to let that happen to my girlfriend or me. We got married and we both worked hard she had a full time job and me with 2 to 3 jobs we had another kid 6 years later when we were in a better position. I'm lucky to have had a lady who liked to work and didn't make excuses why she couldn't work she got a job at a local bank at the bottom of the ladder but she has worked her way up and has a good position this didn't come over night but with a lot of dedication from her. Years go buy and things are going ok she's doing good I'm only working one job and doing good then well how can I put this..... well the road didn't have a bump but it went away. I lost my job about a year and a half ago( and I was the bread winner). Well guess what I did? Well I sure didn't use the excuses that Frank mentioned in his comment no I went out and looked for work anything because first and for most I didn't want to stay home but I also needed to support my family the thought of getting help didn't cross my mind. Well I got a job it was about half of what I was getting paid and I was gone from home anywhere from a week to two weeks at a time. I didn't complain ( well not to much) I was thankful that I had a job and I was working for very nice people. I knew I was in a bad spot and I had to do something to support my family and I would do anything to do that. I worked there for about 5 months and I found the job that I am at now. I will say I am making more money then I did at my last job but still I am making less then I was before. I wont complain about that but the way I look at it the harder I work the more I can make maybe not today but with time.
So see Stacey there other hardships and good times that I have had in my life and there are people who have had it million times worst then me and are a million times better off then me as well. When people say gee I cant find a job or I'm not going to work for that well I say those are people that are making excuses. If I or my wife was to lose our jobs guess what we would do get another job NO EXCUSES.
I will leave you with this one thing you said " Things that drain you and almost destroy you. " Well I was at that fork in the road but I didn't allow that because I didn't make excuses to let it destroy me.
have a great day.

Stacey Hall's picture

Well bully for you!

So if something bad does happen and you need someone, anyone, to hold a hand out and say "hey Bob, I feel for you let me help you out" you're going to spit on them and tell them to kiss off. Gotcha. It's all about how awesome and self centered Bob is. Here's a clue Bob, sometimes crap happens. Sometimes people are alone and scared and abused and they need someone to give one single crap for a moment in time. Clearly, that would never be you Bob, because you have an ego the size of the moon and you are so self centered that you cannot fathom another human being being human. What a sad sad pitiful excuse for a human you are when you have no empathy for anyone around you.
Forget my first sentence, I doubt that there would be many people in your sphere that aren't like you, so a hand to steady you would probably not happen. They would probably turn their back and tell you to suck it up or suffer silently.
I cannot say enough how glad I am that I had people that cared and that I am now one of those people that pays it forward and cares too. You see Bob, that wasn't a unicorn story. It was mine. And I did have support, and I went to school, I worked, I supported my children, and I also stop in a store, buy a bottle of water and a snack and give it to the homeless guy that hasn't eaten in I don't know how long. I don't expect anything for it, but I get a lot. I get the satisfaction of knowing he won't have the pain of hunger for a moment, and honestly Bob, I don't care how he got there. It was probably from mistakes he made or chances he missed but I really don't care. He's there, and sometimes that snack gives him a little bit of caring he needs to put one foot in front of the other for another day.
Then again, he may be one of the thousands of homeless vets or someone that was beaten endlessly until they had the strength to run to live on the street because it's better than what was happening at home that uncaring people sneer at while they talk about "NO EXCUSES" and pat themselves on the back and brag about just how AWESOME they are. Keep being awesome Bob, just Keep being awesome.

Bob White's picture

Stacey its interesting how a

Stacey its interesting how a person with a different opinion then you becomes a self centered jerk and its really interesting how angry you get as well. I also think its very very interesting how you have to brag how you pay forward and buy people water. I do understand that makes you feel better about yourself telling everybody of the great things you do me on the other hand I don't need to tell you all the things I have done because I don't need your blessing. You call me the self centered person or I have a ego the size of the moon when did I brag of all the great things that I have done I just wanted to explain to you that other people in this world have had hard times and they have carried on and you were right I do lay my pillow down on a fluffy pillow at night but guess what I worked for it. Don't be angry at me I'm not the person that mad choices in your life for you look in the mirror.
One last point I was making in my comment is that there are people in this country that are taking advantage of the system and those are the people who I'm talking about. If you think that there are no people that are taking advantage of the system well out there then you don't have the IQ to be commenting on this subject.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Stacy, Right On.................

You hit the nail right on the head. Your scenario is a perfect example of how life can kick you in the ass from time to time. Sometimes you have to persevere. People like Bob can't except the idea that the world isn't a perfect place. I used to say, I wouldn't wish what I went through on my worst enemy, but now I'm thinking maybe Bob ought to give it a whirl.

P.S. I like your perspective...........

Gerald Weinand's picture

Remember when then candidate

Remember when then candidate Paul LePage told the story of one of his best employees at Marden's, a young single mother of two? And how he couldn't give her a 50 cent raise (to $10.50 and hour) because she told him it would effect her welfare benefits? He called her his "poster child."

David Lingard Jr's picture


Oh please another one to put another down to there situation in life that is most likely uncontrollable. Did you hear if he gave her good insurance so she could put her children on it or did you hear if she had sickened children and she wanted to become independent with caring for her children. Did you hear if she had been in a situation of a bad relationship with the kids father and getting no help for extra amenities for the children. You know sometimes you have to do what is right logically and realistically and legally to survive in this world. As everyone else has been saying about the publicity of the governor that they do not tell the whole story. have you thought about how he could be doing the same thing and actually not telling us the whole story behind what he has said about this lady and her children. He is not all that and god he is not. He is human and lies like the rest of us to get what point he wants through to keep his followers following him. Throwing her business which is more private then his is he had no right in using her as an example whether her name was used or not.

Stacey Hall's picture


Where are all the "keep your hands off my medicaid" signs now? Is the joker too white or too tea party?

FRANK EARLEY's picture

As long as we have...........

As long as we have misinformed individuals like "Ridiculous" down there, We will have no substantial progress with healthcare. I can almost understand the frustration Mr. McKane is feeling, but his anger is aimed in the wrong direction.
I think a lot of people have it in their minds that MaineCare, is what is at the root of our financial problems with our hospitals. It's not the program, it's the people put in charge of running the program who allowed it to crash and burn.
How is refusing financial infusion to expand this floundering program, helping to reform Medicaid. By refusing the help, we are saying we would rather keep going down hill fast. We don't want to change, we are fine with the status-quot.
These beliefs originate mostly with those who have healthcare and are uninformed of the struggles of those who don't have it, but desperately need it. These are the people who's only concern in all this is the financial aspect of the program.
Until they realize the human need for these programs, trumps all the financial arguments against these programs. People are going to get sick and die, not theoretical people, real people.
I've come to expect stupid decisions from the Governor, I just hope the people of Maine will become more informed and stand up and demand our fair share........

MARK GRAVEL's picture

"These are the people who's

"These are the people who's only concern in all this is the financial aspect of the program."

Until you figure out how to grow that money tree, paying for social programs must always be an aspect of any entitlement.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Lets just break it down..................

What, in your opinion is more important? Saving money, or saving lives? Basically that is your whole argument. We all know money is scarce. Let me inform you of something, bills can and are paid late. There's very little leeway on death.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You are presenting a false

You are presenting a false dichotomy.

If you put saving lives over money, then you can save no lives when there is no more money.

There is a balance with doing what you can with what you have and not with what you have not.

Ask yourself two questions:
1. How much flexibility does Greece have right now to care of its population?
2. Did civilization survive having no medicine whatsoever?

Your view in my opinion is centered on yourself; it is ignoring the bigger picture, which may require self-sacrifice. The sacrifice being not having the healthcare you want in order to not break the bank for our children and grandchildren.

Lastly, when you chose to pay your bills is no concern of mine or the other readers.

Claudette Therriault's picture

Well said!

Facts and figures do not show the human needs. It's obvious that those who complain the most have never felt poverty; have never seen the hunger in a child's eyes. (You want stats? 2 out of 5 children in Maine go to bed hungry every night); or, have never had to chose between their medication or heating their homes.

Not all people how up at emergency for free care. Many just don't get the care they need. When they get too sick, their care costs four times as much. And yes, people are dying in Maine.

Reading these comments, I can see that it's not just the governor that is heartless! The dollar signs in their eyes is preventing them from seeing that real poverty exists.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Facts and figures is the

Facts and figures is the scientific way to approach problems. Emotion it not a skill in problem solving. Moreover, calling people heartless who do use facts in figures is nothing more than an ad hominem attack, which has never been a cogent form of argumentation. I guess that is the only way to challenge the facts in your case.

The fact is someone has to pay for government services, and it is reasonable for taxpayers to push back when the are told 24/7 they have to give more.

There are no longer any stats on hunger. The new stats apply to "food insecurity", which does not necessarily mean one is malnourished or missing meals.

Lastly, I bet there are people in China, India, or Thailand who would love to be poor in America. That would make them rich in their eyes.

 's picture


"We will forgo the opportunity to create an estimated 4,000 health care jobs in Maine."
It is much more important to kick sick people when they're down than create 4000 good paying jobs. It's called "I have mine, the hell with the rest of you", a gop principle.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Maine already receives about

Maine already receives about $1.41 in federal funds compared to $1.00 sent to Washington DC. Who in the hell do you think is paying the extra $0.41 Maine receives? An you people want more?

Let's call it like I see it - GREED....

Jonathan McKane's picture


MaineCare is the reason the hospitals were owed so much taxpayer money. MaineCare is the reason we need a supplemental budget every year.MaineCare is the reason we are such a poor state with such high taxes. All programs and departments are subservient to MaineCare.We already have the 2nd largest Medicaid program in the country. Expanding this program simply defies logic in the name of political expediency.


Where the hell do you get your info...uninformed??? What a stupid thing to say without any facts to back it...I hope the hell you never have to go through what other less fortunate have to go would probably watch if an old lady were beaten in the streets or if someone were being bullied..with that mentality you should just put a lid on it..way too many of you around ..

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Three Doctors that I know of

Three Doctors that I know of don't take Medicare or Medicaid patients because reimbursement rates do not cover the cost of the healthcare. Just talk with the Doctors about the system.

David Lingard Jr's picture

did you hurt yourself....

Did you hurt yourself with all that big talk of know it allness Jonathan? I just hope someday you do not have to experience being under the poverty level and having to get assistance to survive. You know sometimes it is not about all that big talk when all you have to do realize that it is not us who are poverty stricken and on medicare who needs services fault. It is as simple as really opening up your eyes looking at reality not statistics you see in a book or what a politician is spouting out of there mouth to brain wash you to most likely make you feel better you are not on medicare.

Bob White's picture

Dave why do you look for help

Dave why do you look for help from someone else? How many jobs do you work? Do you have a cell phone? Do you smoke or use drugs? Do you have any tattoos? These are questions that are none of my business but these are questions people that are getting free aid should be asking themselves instead of asking how can I get more help. I'm not saying all people don't deserve some kind of assistance but you would have to be from another world not to see the misuse. What I find interesting though you talk to some of these people (that don't help themselves) and the reason there in the spot they are isn't there fault. They don't take any responsibility for how they got to where they are in life. See Dave that is where people are different I take responsibility for where I am some things are good and something's not so good but at the end of the day I own them. Sure I could make excuses for my action but I choose not. Dave I don't know you and if your getting any assistance but which person are you?

David Lingard Jr's picture

good questions....

Good questions Bob and I am not afraid to answer them. I do not just ask for help from someone else I need the help because I can not work do to my intellectual and mental illness. Just like anyone else with these problems I had no choice to have these problems cause if I did I would not even have these problems. I would be working cause when I did work I enjoyed it but I never could give my all when I did work. This was before being on medications and doing it on my own. Now that I am on my own and on meds it is a new world for me and for which now I have come to terms with my illnesses. I tell you what I quit drinking and I also quit smoking to save on money and also to save my health the way it is now I am trying to save that to so I can live a few years longer. As for jobs I used to take care of my grandmother with hardly no help from her insurance so that meant less nurses for her in her house cause I lived there. I had to do things only a woman should be doing on her. I did also out of respect of family and to help her and to get to know the mom I never knew and the family I did not know growing because my parents split when I was 16 months old. I also worked a 50 hr a week job graveyard shift so I could take care of my gram during the day. I would do my job at night come home sleep for 2 hrs and then gram was ready to get up and I would sleep no more because of her needing assistants. Then she would go to bed at 9 and I could sleep an hour before work. I did that for many years and believe me I am so worn out now in my later years. All my life I have had nothing but physical abuse and sexual abuse and raped at 20 yrs old and also mental abuse all my life. Now I am in complete pain all day and everyday of which I had no choice about either. That makes it so I can not stand for any amounts of time and most jobs call for that. I am bored yes but you know I am not going to put myself in an earlier grave then I have already. Drugs,smoking and tattoos are all I think can be done with out. I think this because you can utilize your monies for better things like food,car expenses and rent and other more important things to survive. Yes I am getting assistance and no I do not take advantage of it I do with it responsible ways of food and drs appts that are necessary. I am so grateful for what I am getting and I do not take advantage of it as I have said already because the thing is is these amenities that are made available for us is a blessing and the people who misuse it make the rest of us look bad. You know something when you point a finger at someone and accuse them of those accusations you are saying it just makes it even worse by making us sound like bums. This is not right bob and I am not a bum and I did not choose to be the way I am sir. do you actually think that I just woke up one day and said I want to be mentally retarded and take advantage of the system? Ah no I did not it came to me when i was born and I had no choice. It is embarrassing I hide myself allot so I do not get ridiculed by people who accuse us to taking advantage of the system and being not responsible. It hurts my feelings and allot of others feelings as well. Even though you think you are helping out by pointing people out like us and others it is not. It just makes things worse on living for us. I recently found out I have Dandy Walker syndrome it is a malformation of the brain. In my case I have a large cyst in my brain that causes me to have memory loss and affects the eyes,heart legs and to be irritated at all times. I hate these things and do yiou think I chose these things? No I did not bob it is horrible to have live with these disabilities and to be in aginy at all times mentally and physically. So bob I hope I helped you to understand my situation and allot of others. It is also said in the books and by counselors therapists and psychiatrists people who do not experience these things do not know what we go threw. I am not saying you or anyone else is stupid cause I am not it is just how it is. Thanks bob for the conversation and you are a very smart man I just hope again I opened up your eye on other then people who taken advantage of the system. If i did not make sense of something on here please comment back and I have no problem in discussing this in a rational manor. For years now I have been doing this to be an advocate for others just like me to have our voices heard. Thanks again Bob

Bob White's picture

Dave I will say I do

Dave I will say I do appreciate that you were able to respond without throwing a bunch of name calling and insults I can respect you for that. However though reading your comments I think your selling yourself a bit short on your intelligence. I think your using your situation as a excuse. I'm sure there is something out there that you can do bit that is up to you. There are people out there that are probably ten time worst then you and work every day but that is the choice they make. So Dave it is a choice you make so don't blame it on something else own up to it and take credit for your actions

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps 90% or more of people

Perhaps 90% or more of people who fall below the poverty line have a much better live than the poor, say, in China, India, or Thailand.

Count your blessings. America is out of money and she cannot afford to pay your way anymore.

David Lingard Jr's picture

You have no idea....

The reason why America can not afford to help the people whoa re in need of help is because of the stupid things that the government is doing. Do not blame me or the next Joe schmo that needs help. As I have always said all these people that you hear that take advantage of the system are all you hear about to possibly satisfy people like you and others to make sense of what is going on. Well it does not make sense you do not hear the real stories of the people who actually need these things to survive. Allot of us does not have a choice of what we were born into. It is people like you with your opinions the country can not afford anymore. you wanna get negative to me well I can do the same to you. I have as much right and stop pointing fingers and look at your self and your holy art thou personality you have. You have no choice of that attitude of yours because of how you were raised. We have kids DIEING in this country of hunger not because of parents fault but this countries fault in its stupid decisions of sending troops all over the place but here and sending our much needed money over seas. What is that going to solve? NOTHING!!! You might think it is to help us but it is not we are gonna be more broke and a laughing stalk of the world as we are now. Also before you say it which i am sure you are thinking by now I not going anywhere else this country being in the depth of trouble it is in you know it can turn around and I am going to be here when it does so I can be proud to live in my country again. Like my post said you have no idea and if you did you would not have said what you said in the last of your post. If you did have an idea you would have not said that cause you would have known that it is not all thorns in the works because of people who need the assistance like me. You have understood there is more then one way then being negative. That is one of the reason this country is going down the road it is is because of people thinking that there way f thinking is the only way and not taking into consideration of others. thank you mark for the conversation and may god help you in the right direction of positiveness in the world and help get rid of your negativeness. If you wanna talk nicely about what i have sent you please respond I have problem with holding a nice conversation.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

"We have kids DIEING in this

"We have kids DIEING in this country of hunger..."

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“Well it does not make sense

“Well it does not make sense you do not hear the real stories of the
people who actually need these things to survive.”

What does survive mean? Does it mean a TV, car, and a plurality of other material things? How many bloated bellies do you see in American compared to other locations on the planet? I bet some people would love to have what you have, or according to you, have not.

“Allot of us does not have a choice of what we were born into.”

Perhaps, but you do have a choice whether to stay there or not.

“We have kids DIEING in this country of hunger not because of parents fault but this countries
fault in its stupid decisions of sending troops all over the place but here
and sending our much needed money over seas. What is that going to solve?”

You need to back up this claim with data – show the readers the facts. I agree with you that we should not be spending money that we don’t have, especially outside the country. I’ll give you an opportunity to prove your claim before I pull the BULL SHIT lever.

The only way to bring the country back into perspective is to shrink the size of government. The government is an organism that must be feed with more of the people’s wealth. Now ask yourself how you vote. Is it for more government programs? If yes, then you are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Pointing out problems, such as you did, should not be construed as negativism, unless you happen to not agree I guess. That is, negativity is only a perspective. Remember, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Now go seize the day, or lament about it; it is your choice.

Claudette Therriault's picture

We have the 2nd largest

We have the 2nd largest Medicaid program in the country, in part, because we have the largest population of elderly people.

And, Maine hospitals are broke because they provide so much free care because the state is refused expanded Medicaid.

Claudette Therriault's picture

We have the 2nd largest

We have the 2nd largest Medicaid program in the country, in part, because we have the largest population of elderly people.

And, Maine hospitals are broke because they provide so much free care because the state is refused expanded Medicaid.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Do you think Medicaid cover

Do you think Medicaid cover 100% of the costs? You got to be kidding. I know three Doctors who refuse to take Medicaid and Medicare patients because reimbursements are less than expenses.

David Lingard Jr's picture

whos fault is it....

That is not our fault Mark the ones who are on assitance. That is where the fingers are being pointed at is us and that is not correct.

David Lingard Jr's picture

whos fault is it....

That is not our fault Mark the ones who are on assitance. That is where the fingers are being pointed at is us and that is not correct.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Whose fault is it? That is a

Whose fault is it? That is a question with an answer, but there is perhaps a different answer for each individual.

For example, I know an individual who does not have the mental capacity to function normally. Yet, this person's condition is a result of the Mother's drug use. So in that case, it is the mother.

I also know someone who has three kids all by different men and no financial support from the fathers. This person always complains that the government welfare she gets is not enough, yet she will not educate herself to earn more money. That is squarely her problem, and her fault. By the way, this person had her first kid when she was 17; she is now in her mid 40's and nothing has changed.

We can go on and on, but from my observations, 80% of those receiving long-term welfare benefits do have the capacity to pull themselves out of that situation, but do not. That is a personal choice.

David Lingard Jr's picture

mothers fault....

Mothers fault i think not with drugs. You sir are stereo typing and that where shit hits the fan with our society. My mother sir had none of those problems. Have you heard of hereditary problem that are passed down through the family? Well that is my situation we have had no control over it Mark. Get over yourself and your righteousness. you have an excuse for every thing that has no proof but your own observations. For your information I am not able to pull myself out of my situation Mark if i could I would not be sitting here and talking to you about the real world and not your fantasy world you live in. Why pointing the finger all the time can you actually think of well maybe it is not there fault and it can not be helped.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“Mothers fault i think not

“Mothers fault i think not with drugs.”

I guess the hand of the lord shoved drugs down the mother’s throat. I personally know the family I used in my example. It was the drugs; it was the mothers own doing.

Let me key you in on two issues:

1. 80% is not 100%.
2. Given you can type this much on the computer, It appears that you may at least have the physical motor skills to do more.

I know many people who earn a good living working

David Lingard Jr's picture

Get off your know it all.....

Get off your know it all horse Mark. You know nothing about what I have gone through or are going through or no one else unless you walk in our shoes. Just like I do not know you and i am not going to judge you like you have done to me. Just because someone can type on a computer does not make them able to work there are more things that a person has to do to fill out a job. You throwing god into my face like that you think that is right to do that? I do not think so I was more referencing my diseased mother who died with Cancer at the age of 29 when I was eleven. You really upset me Mark and I am sure you do not care and yes I am judging as you have me. It upsets you doesn't it well it did me no matter what you try to make up for excuses to justify your words. So do you always judge the whole world and everyone it on small tiny things that mean nothing? It sounds like you do Mark. As I said you do not know me or anyone else with any other kind of disability unless you walk in our shoes. Books do not have all the facts either so do not even through that in my face.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I’m okay if you want to judge

I’m okay if you want to judge me. We all pass judgment, some of us admit it, some of us deny it.

I’m sorry to hear that you lost your mother at an early age. It appears to have scared you deeply.

Lastly, I'm glad you own shoes. I only have $0.99 flip-flops.

David Lingard Jr's picture


Actually Mark my shoes I have have been donated.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

At this point, I think you

At this point, I think you are full of it.

David Lingard Jr's picture

Full of it????

Mark anything I say you have never even liked or said anything that made sense to you. You have basically been saying that to me in other words for a while now. I really do not care I just say what I wanna say and read comments. I know that nothing I say will ever satisfy any one but some. Oh well Mark much love from me take it easy.

MARK GRAVEL's picture


"We have kids DIEING in this country of hunger..."

Where precisely and how many?

Claudette Therriault's picture

Kids dying of hunger?


Kids in this country don't sit with bloated bellies as those pictured in 3rd world countries. They die of diseases related to malnutrition.

Food insecurity also affects cognitive development among young children and causes frequent sickness and decreases their ability to fight off these illnesses.

Just saying....


MARK GRAVEL's picture

Okay, you are welcome to

Okay, you are welcome to change your premise.

You still need to backup you new premise with facts. Where are you documented cases?

Do you have any references?

MARK GRAVEL's picture


Where are you[r] documented cases?

Claudette Therriault's picture

USDA websites, and USM

USDA websites, and USM Coorperative Ext Services will give you facts and figures for the nation and local states.

It boils down to this Mark, the low income population cannot always afford to purchase nutritious foods for their families. SNAP can purchase fresh vegies at local markets during the summer months, but not during the school year. There are food pantries everywhere. They have loads of pasta, bread and deviled ham and lots of canned corn. Some local pantries only open once a month.

I'm met remarkable women with large families, who garden and can and have found a way to feed their families but not every one has that opportunity.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Claudette said the following

Claudette said the following that I asked her to back up with evidence: "They die of diseases related to malnutrition."

Claudette responded with the following: "the low income population cannot always afford to purchase nutritious foods for their families. SNAP can purchase fresh vegies at local markets during the summer months, but not during the school year. There are food pantries everywhere. They have loads of pasta, bread and deviled ham and lots of canned corn. Some local pantries only open once a month."

Nothing in Claudette's response backs up her orginal premise: "They die of diseases related to malnutrition."

Doesn't the free food prevent your claim from occuring?

Let's try one more time: Give the readers a body count of the number of children who died of malnutrition in calender year 2012?

Otherwise, readers will label your claim to be a lie.

Claudette Therriault's picture

According to the CDC 1 in

According to the CDC 1 in 100,000 children under 5 in the US die of HUNGER. There are about 24 million children under 5 in the US. Also, children born of malnourished mothers will have a 41% chance of having babies that will have serious mental development problems that will last a lifetime. It goes on to say that these children will be unable to function normally and will eventually end up as adults on welfare....

Is that good enough for you?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Good enough. Thank you.

Good enough. Thank you.

Claudette Therriault's picture


Also, "children born of malnourished mothers will have a 41% chance of having babies". This should read : "malnourished mothers will have a 41% chance of having babies"

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Now a second order analysis

Now a second order analysis is to explore the following:

1. What is the absolute number of malnourished mothers? After all, 41% of a dollar is much less than 41% of $10,000. Percentages can hide the scope of an issue.
2. What is the reason for the malnourishment. Is it due to lack of food, mental illness, substance abuse, etc... Having the financial resources and not buying nourishment is different than malnourishment due to not having financial resources to buy food.

The takeaway is when you wade thought the details, the number of malnourishment cases due to not having enough financial resources is very, very small. I'll back up this assertion once I dig up my research data.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I know many people who earn a

I know many people who earn a good living working on a computer all day.

Moreover, here is a brilliant man who does much in his condition:

 's picture


How does he do it? Government provided health care.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The BS meter is pegged. His

The BS meter is pegged.

His intelligence, perseverance, and the technology that allows him to communicate has nothing to do with Government provided healthcare; in fact, it has little to do with healthcare period.

Good attempt to rid that one trick pony though. To bad you keep falling off.


Hawking lives in England, where he has been able to take advantage of the National Health Service to help him through his progressing ALS. Yes, he is also a brilliant physicist and that has earned him extra money to get extra perks that the average British citizen cannot, but how likely is it that he would have been able to without the initial leg up from the NHS?

 's picture


"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," he told The Guardian. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived." Stephen Hawking

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Let's get something straight.

Let's get something straight. This discussion is not about free healthcare, it is about being productive regardless of one limitations. Back off there commie and get with the program.

 's picture

wrong again

Uh, what's the editorial about? And, name calling is the best you got?

Usually is.

That's why he is in the troll file.

Stacey Hall's picture

Maybe we should stop being complacent about costs

The medical profession is a golden ticket in America, starting with the bloated insurance industry and moving on to the cost of using equipment that has been paid for thousands of times over but still costs each patient thousands per use (look at the cost of a C.A.T scan in the US vs every other country in the world), then onto the CEO pay for every hospital, down to the pay the doctor gets for popping into your room, nodding at a chart a nurse did the work on, then walking away. The medical industry is the same as every other corporation - the workers at the bottom that do the dirty stuff - get crap pay and the CEO walks away with the money - all the while convincing you to pity them.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

What is more interesting is

What is more interesting is the increase of primary healthcare and cosmetic surgery, which is 100% market driven.

Healthcare cots that are 100% market driven are rising less than the inflation rate. Perhaps primary care is so expensive is because someone else is paying the bill, so you don't really care what is costs.

Claudette Therriault's picture

What do i care about?

I care about the human factor.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Certainly, that does not mean

Certainly, that does not mean you have to put your head in the sand and ignore the difficult questions. Let's face it, money makes the world go around, and ignoring that fact for some romantic vision of the "human factor" is nonsensical.

Why are you afraid to get the truth about Medicare and Medicaid from your Doctor? Are you afraid that the answers may shatter your perception of reality?

Claudette Therriault's picture

Try working with the poor and

Try working with the poor and elderly for over 25 years and tell me that the human factor is nonsensical.

My head is not in the sand. In those years, I've written many a grant and I know that welfare programs are powered by money. I've seen excellent self sufficiency programs go away because of lack of funding and I've had to tell humans that we cannot help them because of lack of money...That's reality!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps I did not say that

Perhaps I did not say that well. Yes, compassion matters, but it does not pay the light bill.

Claudette Therriault's picture

For once I agree with you.

For once I agree with you. Working in social services for all these years does not pay my light bill that much either.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

And what is wrong with that?

And what is wrong with that? The takeaway from your message is get educated and work your way up from the bottom.

Claudette Therriault's picture

You are going to the wrong doctors

I've yet to find a doctor or specialist who does not take Medicaid or Medicare.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I have, three of them. The

I have, three of them. The next time you go to your Doctor, strike up a conversation on the topic and see what they have to say about the topic.

Claudette Therriault's picture

I've been going to the same

I've been going to the same practice for over 25 years. My care did not diminish when I went on Medicare, nor when I lost my husband and starting receiving MaineCare. My doctor is aware of MaineCare and Medicare rules and runs tests accordingly. The only complaint I've gotten about MaineCare from my young physician is that she wishes she could run certain tests more often. You see some doctors still believe in the Hypocratic Oath and not the almighty dollar.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The Hippocratic Oath and

The Hippocratic Oath and $2.95 will buy you a small coffee at Starbucks.

Here are some canned questions to ask your Doctor.

Claudette: I read in several news articles that Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates do not cover the cost of patient care, is there any truth to those statements?

Doctor: This is true or not true or somewhat true.

Claudette: Could you afford to stay in business if you only saw Medicaid and Medicare patients?

Doctor: Yes or no or it would be difficult.

Claudette: What percentage of your patients are on Medicaid or Medicare?

Doctor: Just you Claudette, just you!

Have you ever asked any of the above questions? If yes, then what was the answer?

The takeaway is that if the Doctor cannot pay his bills, the Hippocratic Oath is nothing more than an Oath.

Claudette Therriault's picture

If my doctor is losing that

If my doctor is losing that much money, why should I waste her time with foolish questions?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

1. Because you have no

1. Because you have no possibility of knowing until you ask the question (my 7 year old knows that).
2. You may learn something.

There are no foolish questions, only unasked questions and ignorance.


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