Forum for Feb. 10, 2024: Be sure to vote

Published: 02-09-2024 4:31 PM

To serve and to vote

On March 12, Lebanon voters will have the opportunity to make their voices heard. This is not just a civic duty, but a privilege and a right that all should exercise. If you want to have a say in how your school district is run, make your voice count by casting your vote. Every vote counts. Only those votes that were never cast do not.

For the past three years I have enjoyed the privilege of serving on the Lebanon School Board. I thank this amazing community for entrusting me with this honor and duty. This time has been meaningful and gratifying to me, far exceeding my expectations.

Now, as I near the end of my term, and having relocated to Enfield, the time has come for me to step aside and make way for new board members to continue this important duty. Serving with this board guarantees to be meaningful for anyone who shares this passion and is willing to work together with a group of community volunteers: your fellow board members, who, almost without exception, are some of the most caring, compassionate, and passionate people I’ve come to know.

You also get the chance to meet and collaborate with some of the truly dedicated and often awe-inspiring educators and administrators our school district is so very lucky to have. A special shout-out to those who inspired me to spend the countless hours in public and nonpublic meetings, committee work sessions and homework prep hours along the way: Our new and fantastic Superintendent, Amy Allen; Business Administrator Tim Ball (who is an unsung hero in the district); and LHS Principal Ian Smith, who continually demonstrates levels of educational expertise, administrative prowess, both in the most caring and respectful fashion.

So, if you are content with how things are functioning in our city and in our schools — please consider stepping up to help keep things this way. If you have some concerns about any of this, I urge you to similarly step up and help effect changes. If public office is not your cup of tea, then at the very least, step up and vote for those who can fulfill this mandate in your stead.

Stephen Kantor

Enfield

NH weighs end-of-life bill

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An Options for End-of-Life bill has been introduced in the New Hampshire House of Representatives (HB 1283). The bill has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee which held a hearing in Concord on Wednesday. The bill allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with a prognosis of six months or less to live to request from their health care provider a prescription for medication they can decide to self-ingest to die peacefully in their sleep. More widely known as Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), this practice is legal in 10 states including Maine and Vermont, plus the District of Columbia.

Many of us have watched our loved ones suffer for long periods of time and fear that we may have to endure the same physically and mentally painful journey ourselves. This bi-partisan bill gives us another alternative. It honors our state’s commitment to personal freedoms that do not infringe on the rights of another person. To protect this freedom, please contact the members of the Judiciary Committee to show your support. The list of its members can be found on the Legislature’s website gencourt.state.nh.us. Additional information about the bill and how you can help can be found at .nhendoflifeoptions.org.

Cappy and Mark Nunlist

Lebanon

Medicare subsidies prop up profits

Traditional Medicare excels in administrative efficiency. The privatization of Medicare via contracts with intermediary Medicare Advantage (MA) megaliths has required subsidies of $613 billion to reduce premiums for subscribers. Many seniors welcome those negligible premiums offered by MA and the modest-costing additional “bells and whistles” that are so heavily marketed. However, denial and increasing restriction of services, subtle “lemon-dropping” of sicker patients into traditional Medicare, not so subtle coding fraud and the need for added subsidies to assure private profit threatens the financial integrity of Medicare. Patients are starting to share horror stories of denial of specialist care, not to mention the administrative burden on clinicians in trying to get approval for that care. We are recapitulating the 1990s, prior to the ACA, when public disgust arose due to denial of care and rising costs of the deregulated, interstate managed-care industry.

As a subscriber to traditional Medicare, I recently learned that my traditional Medicare premiums have been raised to pay for those subsidies that enable profit by MA plans! MA’s profitized inefficiencies should not require raising premiums on subscribers of traditional Medicare. Those subsidies would be better spent expanding the services of traditional Medicare. Our must trusted form of “universal care” for American seniors is being scavenged by those who turn Reaganesque, anti-regulatory fervor into ways to creatively siphon money off public health dollars.

Promotion of the financial interests of the publicly traded, for-profit medical industry seems to be the chief concern of Health & Human Services, CMS and Congress. We must ask our representatives to develop a coordinated, regulated, care-directed program that integrates clinicians, hospitals, community services and payment programs.

Ken Dolkart

Grantham