Letters: Not enough talk about behaviorial health; a suggestion to expand Medicare; and more support for BOE candidate Ken Kiler

Not enough talk about behavioral health

I am concerned that I have not heard much about behavioral health issues in this upcoming election. Behavioral health is a term that covers both mental health and substance use problems. It’s important to know where the candidates stand on this important issue.

Maryland is in the midst of an opioid crisis, and overdose deaths from opioids has skyrocketed. While the problem has received a lot of attention in the press, there is much to accomplish in the way of solutions. We need more treatment beds, as well as treatment on demand, and we need to ensure that insurance companies are compliant with parity laws regarding substance use treatment. Substance use providers need to be adequately compensated so that they can earn a living wage, and thereby reduce shortages of staff.


Mental health has received less attention than the opioid crisis, but it is equally important. From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate jumped 30 percent. Even more troubling, between 2006 and 2016 the suicide rate for 10- to 17-year-olds increased 70 percent. Many people with mental health problems are not getting the treatment that they need. There is a severe shortage of psychiatrists, particularly child psychiatrists, and rural areas are very poorly served. There are known remedies for this — school-based mental health services, higher salaries for mental health providers to reduce shortages, and more rigorous parity enforcement.

Ask our candidates about their positions on behavioral health needs. Lives are at stake, and those lives are closer to you than you may realize.


Beth Schmidt


A good next step on health care

In 2011, the Obama administration put together the Affordable Care Act after a year of studying various alternatives. Since then, the health care of millions of Americans has improved, especially relative to pre-existing conditions, yearly health check-ups and early treatment.

At that time, a public option was proposed but was turned down because of fear that it would put insurance companies out of business. Going forward, we have the opportunity to include in the Affordable Care Act a provision that Medicare be expanded to include ages 55 to 65, (and their dependents), thus making Medicare (a very popular program) available to anyone 55 or older for the rest of their lives. This would be funded by payroll deductions, which would very likely be less than the payments for private insurance. Once one reached 65 they would no longer have to pay for their health insurance. And those 55 to 65 years old would enjoy the same benefits as those 65 and older currently enjoy.

The Democratic Party would find this funding approach very compatible with its desire to make quality care more affordable for more Americans and with minimum change to our laws.

Wallace Wolff


Kiler is the right man for Board of Ed

I want to express my support for Kenny Kiler for Carroll County Board of Education. My wife and I grew up in Carroll County, raised our children here and we all attended Carroll County Public Schools. During the 1970s through the 1990s, it seemed the school system would never keep pace with the exploding population. Today, I believe the challenges we face are more complicated. CCPS must prepare students to meet the changing needs and opportunities of the modern workplace; cope with declining enrollment; make the most effective use of available resources; and keep students safe in a society where violence, bullying, substance use, etc. have parents concerned about the safety of their children every day. The BOE has a responsibility for the direction and oversight of the CCPS and careful selection of the board members is an important civic duty.

I have known Kenny for over 30 years and he personally values a robust education and encourages youth to reach their potential. Additionally, his leadership experience and roots in our community give him the ability to make the thoughtful decisions necessary to guide CCPS. Kenny’s successful experience as a leader in an executive role in construction companies that employ hundreds of people and as a military officer are a tribute to his ability to lead organizations. Kenny is well-known in the community and always willing to help. His countless civic activities and leadership roles in these organizations demonstrate his commitment to our community. Kenny is very honest and straight-forward. I am certain he will be transparent and open to suggestions when making difficult decisions considered by the BOE.

Kenny recognizes the importance of CCPS partnering with other organizations to make the most of resources and provide opportunities for our students. He believes in having a trained local law enforcement presence in our schools is an important resource to ensure school safety. He also recognizes the importance of multiplying our resources by utilizing volunteers, business and civic organizations to leverage opportunities to provide the best enrichment and extracurricular activities, which are critical to developing youth into tomorrow’s leaders.

The experience and commitment that Kenny will bring to the BOE makes him the right man for the job. His ability to work with people in the community and make well-informed decisions will benefit CCPS. I urge you to vote for Kenny Kiler for Board of Education.

Edwin F. Singer



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