Trust me, I work for the Government

Health Insurance companies staying healthy

Tonight there is no reasoned argument. I have been out reading and raising my blood pressure. Good thing I still have health care. This is not a balanced argument, I needed to let off steam.

George Bush, last year said anyone can get health care “I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.” He really said that , send the man a pretzel.

Just send 47,000,000 Americans to the emergency room. Should they go one at a time or all at once?

Don’t worry, Mitt Romney is coming to our rescue

Mitt says the uninsured are freeloaders “The reason health care isn’t working like a market right now is you have 47 million people that are saying, “I’m not going to play. I’m just going to get free care paid for by everybody else.” Freeloading, sicko deadbeats. Stay well if you want to keep your costs down!

So you unemployed deadbeat, eighty year old cripple, just because you have emphysema, or heart disease is no excuse not to be earning enough for health insurance, no matter what the cost.

Give ‘em credit, the Republicans designed a built in cure in the last Medicare bill, called the “donut hole” where none of your medicines are paid for. At this point you stop paying for medicine because you want to eat. See the genius of the plan? Soon you will have no expenses at all. Skip enough medicine and the cost to the public falls to zero as soon as Social Security chips in the $300.00 death benefit.

In Canada a major hospital stay costing over ten thousand dollars might set you back $400 or nothing in some areas, and you could expect the same in England, France, Germany, or Scandinavia.

The same “compassionate conservatives” that say the use of emergency rooms by illegal aliens is breaking the system are proposing that (now 49,000,000 since you started reading) Americans use the same emergency rooms as primary care physicians.

I am certain that these politicos have never had to go to an emergency room in their life, unless G.W. needed to go for an OD during his party boy days. These are the same politicos that accept free federal health care, or free State health care in Mitt’s case. The Senate and the house have a 24×7 ambulance with trained medics standing by “just in case”.

In Maine the same “cure” is being proposed for the expense of the State Employee health care plan. Cut benefits, raise costs. Then the taxpayer pays the emergency room. But at least the insurance companies will stay healthy.

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January 17th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, Universal Health Care, msea maine | no comments

Ethan Strimling Reaching out to Maine

This is my first post on this blog. I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you, to share the reasons why I am running in June’s Democratic Primary to represent Maine’s 1st Congressional District, and most importantly, to begin a dialog with you about how we can together change the direction of this country.

I want to do on the internet what I have already been doing in person all around the First District- talking and listening to people. The internet not only affords an opportunity for more two-way communication between politicians and their constituents, but demands it. As a Senator in the Maine legislature, I have always seen myself as the facilitator of a collaborative effort between me and my constituents. On the internet, I can reach out and collaborate with more people than ever before. I hope you’ll join me.

So now let me tell you about why I am running for Congress, and then I hope to hear from you about what you think we need to do, and about how we can do it.

In the months before I announced my candidacy, I traveled to towns all over Maine attending over 70 house parties in 70 different towns, and talked with hundreds of people. I did more than just say “hello” and shake their hands during a photo op. I sat in their living rooms and their kitchens, and one-on-one I heard their stories. The experience changed me.

Before doing that, I already knew what we all know: that most people aren’t being listened to; that the middle class has been neglected and forgotten by Washington; that average wage earners are being hammered while the richest Americans and corporations are given extraordinary tax breaks; that the nation is pouring billions into the Iraq War, raising the income tax burden on the middle class and siphoning precious dollars from better wages, better health care, cheaper alternative energy, and college loan programs.

I knew those things, but talking with hundreds of people, and hearing from people from all walks of life, gave me a deeper understanding. Over and over I heard from Maine people who are struggling just to get by.

In Shapleigh, I talked with a retiree who had to go back to work because everything from taxes to health care are far more expensive than he had carefully planned for. In Saco, I met a man whose kidney cancer is now terminal; it was detected too late because he did not have health insurance in his hourly job and hadn’t been able to afford physicals. I heard from a Portland couple who are struggling to pay a second mortgage on their house because their two boys are both in college.

I am running for Congress because I know it is wrong that the people I met and so many others just like them here in Maine are struggling just to get by. But I also know that it doesn’t have to be this way. These struggles are the direct consequences of bad choices made by the leaders of our elected government who aren’t listening to the same people I’m listening to.

I have always made fighting for the pocket books of Maine families my top priority. For the past three years, I have been the Senate Chair of the Labor Committee. During that time I have led efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand unemployment benefits for laid off Mainers, and provide for workers who are injured on the job. I have fought to provide health care for Fire Fighters, enhance retirement for mental health and correctional workers, and stood up to General Dynamics when they wanted to outsource union jobs.

So with your help, and with you behind me, I will go to Congress and I will fight every day to make taxes fairer, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, bring our troops home, and increase wages and benefits for working families.

I hope I can earn your support and that you will take some time to ask me questions, to learn more about me, and also to tell me your stories and ideas so that I can learn more about you. If you visit my website, you can learn more about my experience in the Maine Legislature, where I have served since 2002, and about my ten-plus years as executive director at Portland West, a nonprofit that helps at-risk and lower income children and families. You can also learn about my positions on other issues. I look forward to your feedback and comments on those as well.

Finally, I am proud and honored to count among my strongest supporters hundreds of workers and organizers from around Maine, including these Union members:

CJ Betit, Southern Maine Labor Council

John Bogart, American Postal Worker’s Union Doug Born, International Alliance for Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 114 Sal Crisci, Maine State Employees Association – Service Employees International Union George Lawson, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Jim MacAdam, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Thomas MacLean, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 714 Zack Matthews, Business Agent AFSCME Council 93 Winston McGill, International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 740 David Paul, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2327 Doris and Wayne Poland, American Postal Workers Union, Local 458 Stephen Quinlan, American Postal Workers Union, Local 458 Leo Todd, Maine Education Association

(Please note: Unions listed for identification purposes only)

Send me your name, occupation, town, and union affiliation, and I will add you to a list of Labor supporters that will be on our web site. Send it to labor@ethan08.com.

Editorial Comment:

The following questions are representative of the questions that have been emailed to this site. Other questions can be found in the comments on the post. Other candidates may choose to post and other candidates have been invited. Mr. Strimling received the first invitation and was ready to take questions and state what he believes in.
No candidate can provide specifics completely until they have gained the office and the information that a member of Congress has access to. But this candidate is willing to tell us what his goals are. What he believes is important to us. How he achieves them will be up to how much of a majority the electorate gives to candidates who support the same ideals.

1. Social Security Offset
employees that have contributed to the Social Security system are punished by the Social Security offset. As a member of congress, will you work to repeal this unjust law? What will you do?

2. Describe what you would do to improve the Department of Labor and how you would make it friendlier to labor.

Will you support a card check law on the Federal level?

Support and Enforce prevailing wage across the country?

3. Unions believe in the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively.

Will you work with Unions to extend and return collective bargaining rights to Federal workers that have been denied bargaining rights?

4. What are other major issues upon which your campaign is based?

5. What is your position on the war in Iraq and how soon it can be ended?

6. On the second amendment, do you believe your views are consistent with the majority of Mainers?

Do you believe the second amendment is an individual right or a collective right?

Do you see the need for more gun laws or do you believe we should enforce the laws we have?

7. Would you vote to allow undocumented workers to collect Social Security?

8. What is your position on Bush tax cuts?

9. What role does the Federal Government have in helping to alleviate the health care crisis in this country?

10. What do Mainers need to know about you that will help us to decide how to vote?

Editorial addition: A friend of mine sent the following question but as I have not yet gotten permission to use a name I have removed personally identifying information.

I have some questions for Mr. Strimling.
What does he think about the health care crisis in this country? It is not only the fact that health insurance is very expensive and for many folks unattainable, but it is also the runaway costs of getting sick! Simple tests like mammograms are now almost $200 when not that long ago the cost was about $75.

What does he think about cutting Medicare benefits that cover the cost of home health care for our elders? This is a program that pays for the health services an elder receives in their home. Like having a nurse go into the home to do a rountine check up or having a physical therapist go into the home to do some physical therapy to help keep the person mobile.
Is it better to put these people in a nursing home where those costs are high, the care is not that great? Not to mention that the elders would rather stay in their own homes and be comfortable. The work I do is not covered under Medicare. Home Care for Maine does not receive any Medicare money. HCM does not employ nurses that go into the home for these types of services. But a lot of the consumers that Home Care for Maine helps do receive these types of services from other agencies like Health Reach.

Is Mr. Strimling aware of PCAs and PSSs and the type of work we do?
I can give him a brief outline.

Please let me now if you’d like a brief outline of what a PCA/PSS does and I’ll be glad to send it.

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November 10th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, Home Health Care, MSEA, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine Congressional Elections, STATE EMPLOYEES, UNIONMAINE, Universal Health Care | 4 comments

Universal Health Care, The other Side.

E.T.I. 2009

The debate about Universal Health care has proponents and opponents. Since I am a firm believer in Universal Health Care I felt that I should go out and listen to the reasons given by the opposition. I have collected the most common reasons and it is only fair to listen to the other side.

I have listed the most common below.

1: With Universal Health Care people would live longer and the money would just be wasted on old people.

2: If you knew you could go to the doctor for yourself or your kids you would go for every minor broken bone and the Government might even end up paying for inoculations to prevent disease. Why pay for something that has not happened?

3: Universal Health Care would stop Americans from paying more and getting less than other counties and that could harm the economy.

4: Single payer countries are run by dictators in lands with no choice, like Canada, and Holland.

5: The people that oppose a single payer system can afford health care and it would be an unfair burden on the rich.

6: Paying insurance companies for poor care is more American than paying taxes and receiving good care.

7: The U.S.A. which has one of the highest infant mortality rates of all the civilized countries would become overcrowded if we let all those babies live.

8: Clients have become fond of their HMO providers and would miss dealing with them.

9: Regardless of how much good would be done, if good is done by government then it must really be bad.

10. It’s fun to see how long you can get one prescription to last by skipping days, and cutting doses. The mental activity helps prevent Alzheimer’s.

Since I write so much about State employees who (for now) still have health care you may ask yourself what this has to do with you.

I listened some more. The other side says we are the worst criminals. By having health care and good wages we are almost single handedly driving out all of the business in Maine. I have listened to the arguments and they sum up to a demand that we give up at least a third of our pay, all of our benefits, and stop being a part of a Union. There are also other demands that want all poorly performing State employees fired immediately. This demand leads right back to the “get rid of the Union” argument, so government can be efficient.

Some how this will then lead all of the businesses to flock to Maine for the low wages. At that time anyone in Maine that wants to work for minimum wage in ugly working conditions (Wal-Mart) will have the opportunity. Did I miss the point? We suffer, business does great, and that is good?

Let me know if I missed the point.

E.T.I. 2009

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October 19th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNION CANDIDATES, UNIONMAINE, Union Success, Universal Health Care, VEBA, VSEA | no comments