To the Editor:
My mother was in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation facilities the last years of her life. When she would come home, my brothers and I would take turns living with her to reacquaint her with her own house. The only public home-care service she qualified for consisted of a few hours a week of light household chores — far less attention than she needed.
Not every family has enough adult children to make up for the patchwork of insufficient home care now available for elderly and disabled patients. That’s why I’m supporting Question 1, the Universal Home Care initiative we’re voting on in Maine this fall.
Question 1 would ensure comprehensive, professional in-home care for all the Mainers who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. The cost would be covered by a modest tax increase on the highest-income residents of our state, those individuals making over $128,400 (in the first year — the threshold would rise with the cost of living).
Opponents of Question 1 are calling it a “scam,” but the real scam is their opposition. Everyone agrees the need is there; a recent report from the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine figured 27,000 Mainers would qualify for the home care services envisioned by Question 1. Another study found that only the state’s wealthiest three percent would pay any higher taxes.
With dreadful Mary Mayhew’s appointment to the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, voting yes is even more critical. Don’t be scared off from voting for a thoughtful solution to a large and growing problem. Please vote yes on Question 1.