2018-09-07 / Letters

Full disclosure should have been shared with readers

To the editor,

In the interest of full disclosure, I believe Jim Elkins (Question 1 is bad public policy, Scarborough Leader, Aug. 17, 2018) should have disclosed his ongoing 10- year association as a board member with Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce which is one of Question 1’s most vocal opponents.

If passed by Maine’s voters, the Universal Home Care Program will have a negative influence on profits for nursing homes, assisted living and hospice facilities, insurance companies, and for-profit home care agencies many of which are members of the Portland Chamber.

Mr. Elkins makes several assertions that I believe are false:

1. Rather than create “lengthy service waitlists,” the proposed home care program will shorten the waitlists. It will increase the number of trained professionals by offering a more livable wage;

2. Patient medical data is no more likely to be compromised than it is now. All members of the board and workforce will be bound by the same state and federal HIPPA rules and regulations as all other healthcare providers;

3. Assistance with “home repairs” would certainly include necessities such as wheelchair ramps, widening doorways for wheelchairs, and grab bars for showers and toilets;

4. And finally, the bill doesn’t simply refer to “rent subsidies,” it specifically refers to “small rent subsidies.” The board might prevent a disabled or elderly person from being evicted because they came up $100 short on their rent for some unpredictable reason.

Maine has the oldest population in the nation and the state needs to address this situation much more aggressively.

However, one assertion that was made is absolutely true: “those requesting services would not be means tested”. And why should they? Those making less than the taxable amount are the people most likely to actually need assistance they can’t afford.

On the other hand, to charge those who are actually funding the program would be unfair.

I believe most of us will agree that helping the elderly and the disabled, including disabled veterans, is decent, responsible, and just plain good public policy.

Jerry Genesio

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