To the Editor:
An article on the front page of the Sunday, July 31 edition of Foster's Daily Democrat about Maine's government-run health services was not news, but a thinly disguised advocacy piece. The subheadline: "Maine's social services praised as far better than Granite State's". And in case we didn't get the point, the closing paragraph quoted a Maine resident: "New Hampshire should follow Maine, because the services are great."
Before New Hampshire decides to "follow" Maine, we should consider a few additional facts, none of which your article even hints at:
According to the most recent report
from the Tax
Foundation, Maine's tax burden (as a percentage of
income) is 10.9%, ninth-highest in the
country. In contrast, New Hampshire's tax burden, at 8.0%,
puts us in 44th place.
Maine's tax bite comes out of a significantly smaller pie: according
to Census Bureau data, Maine's median
household income is $46,581, which puts it in 36th place. New
Hampshire's median household income is $63,731, good for 7th place.
Also according to the Census
Bureau, Maine's poverty rate is 12.3%, 26th highest in the nation
(and highest in New England). New Hampshire's poverty rate is 7.6%,
which is the lowest in the US.
The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers
show Maine with a 7.8% unemployment rate, compared with New
Maine's health programs don't translate into significantly
better health outcomes, at least compared to New Hampshire.
According to the Kaiser
Maine's infant mortality rate and its
adult obesity rate are higher than New Hampshire's;
Maine's life expectancy is lower, as is its childhood immunization
That's their choice, and their business. But the evidence indicates that it's an expensive path to follow, hurts the state's overall prosperity, and is ineffective in moving people out of poverty, or improving their health. New Hampshire might decide to "follow" Maine, but people deserve to know the full story before they make that call; Foster's failed to tell it.
Paul A. Sand