EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 28, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — State needs federal Medicaid help

To the editor:

There are about 58,000 of our New Hampshire work force age 65 and under earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty line who had better have a working understanding about the latest body blow currently being landed on them by our state Republicans in Concord.

In the face of even a modicum of common sense both politically and morally, both the Tea Party and mainstream GOP in our Senate and House are undermining Gov. Maggie Hassan’s acceptance of over $2.5 billion in guaranteed federal Medicaid funds, covering the next 7 years.

We currently have 137,000 residents enrolled on Medicaid, with the aforementioned 58,000 all set to be added to the rolls on Jan. 1, 2014. The federal funds are already allocated and guaranteed, regardless of what state and national GOP politicians, hate radio and Fox “News” commentators might be telling you. The only thing the governance of each individual state has to do is accept the money.

Since this is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) we’re talking about, an initiative that is necessary to both the health of our citizens and our nation’s economic well-being, it’s being avoided like kryptonite by our state legislature as well as 23 others across the country, including Texas, Louisiana and the Carolinas.

A sad fact about these states’ refusals of the funds, coupled with the denial of health benefits to those affected, will be the hugely increased state spending for the medical costs of all those uninsured citizens, making this decision a double-edged sword for all sides. And it will also make it tougher for those uninsured people this Jan. 1 when the new federal mandate kicks in and they have to purchase their own insurance in the marketplace. This, of course, is exactly what the anti-Medicaid side is waiting for: imagine all the misleading headlines next year that will be blaming Obamacare for the ongoing plight faced by our working poor for their increased medical coverage expenses, despite the fact that the entire problem will be caused by the GOP’s spiteful refusal of funds.

Hassan will be calling our Granite State legislature back for an October session, hoping that in the next three months enough pressure can be exerted against the Republicans to ensure a favorable vote at that time. Typically, most of the GOP members are voicing their disapproval of this special session, preferring to kick the problem down the road into the 2014 session.

The most infuriating point of this latest anti-Obama subterfuge by our GOP representatives is that the people who will suffer aren’t on welfare rolls or recipients of monthly disability checks. These are our working poor, paying their bills and taxes and raising their families with little or no government assistance.

Whether you are an affected victim of this New Hampshire end-around or not, a call or email to your local reps to push this common-sense acceptance of federal funds may help for a positive outcome in the fall. Think about this: if New Hampshire were hit by a hurricane or other natural disaster next week, would Hassan have to worry about opposition from her legislature in accepting cleanup and reconstruction dollars from Washington? With these impending personal financial disasters awaiting 58,000 of our neighbors in a few months, the Medicaid answer should be just as obvious.

William F. Klessens


Gonzalez will move Lawrence forward

To the editor:

The entrance of Juan “Manny” Gonzalez as candidate for mayor of Lawrence presents a unique and historic opportunity that will potentially have widespread impact not only for the city of Lawrence but also the surrounding communities of Merrimack Valley.

There are many in Lawrence and many more of us who live in its proximity who intimately understand that Lawrence is a city that has to be cared for. This is a city that yearns for inspired leadership where public service to engage in progressive action is the central motive, rather than an agenda of careerism.

A politician will not care for your city. Manny Gonzalez is a poor politician if measured by the standard of self-serving politics.

Candidate Gonzalez understands that the fundamental need for change in the human spirit is the only true basis for positive, social change. This is especially true in light of years of mismanagement by politicians who at best were ineffective and at worse consumed by the disingenuous belief that power is wielded to produce a condition of control over the lives of others without the desire to improve their lot.

I call on Lawrence to examine itself closely and support a man who is a true humanitarian, who knows the pulse of the city and has a spiritual bearing, too. This is a man who has demonstrated, through selfless action, a vital core belief that community activism is related to restoring people’s dignity.

I’ve worked with Manny on several humanitarian efforts including a vigorous response to families who had lost everything in a devastating fire last Christmas. He led an effort of compassion and action that resulted in families having their lives restored in the face of uncertainty, their hearts warmed in the midst of utter chaos.

The time is now to strike the hot iron of intervention by popular support and ultimately the vote to deliver a man of extraordinary dignity, altruistic motivation and who is utterly capable of reversing the current condition of your city.

That condition is self-evident; it is a city steeped in dependency, conflicted in politics and devoid of ethical bearing.

Manny Gonzalez will usher in a renaissance in this great and proud city.

Joe D’Amore