It is time for Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support the administration’s promotion of significant health care reform.

The companion bill coming to the Senate is not perfect, but is an effective move in the right direction.

Plan opponents say the present effort should be scrapped and replaced by small, “step-by-step” measures. However, to be successful, several elements of the plan have to occur simultaneously; piecemeal development cannot work.

Improvements of the legislation need to be made with the primary structure in place, as has been done with Medicare and other programs.

To offer some context, reform opponents identify the reconciliation process as almost never used to make significant changes in health care legislation, ignoring its past use for major health care changes:

1982: Opened Medicare to HMOs; added hospice benefit.

1986: COBRA allowed people laid off or who left their jobs to keep their health coverage.

1990: Added cancer screenings to Medicare, expanded Medicaid to all children below poverty level; required drug company discounts to Medicaid.

1997: Created children’s health program, CHIP. (Medicaid and CHIP cover 1 in 3 children in the United States.)

2005: Allowed parents of disabled children to buy into Medicaid.

Polls showing the majority of Americans do not want this legislation are misleading. The polls do not disclose that roughly half of those against the current legislation disapprove of it because it does not go far enough, not because it does too much.

It is time to do what is right: Our senators should be true to their “moderate” positions and interest in improving health care delivery and fully support the administration’s effort to reform health care.

Daniel Krell, M.D.

Hiram
and 13 other doctors

 

 

Life is full of surprises, including what can be the sudden, unexpected, and shocking need for health care. Our family learned this when, more than 30 years ago, our beautiful, seemingly perfect 4-month-old daughter stopped breathing.

Despite my immediate response with infant CPR, help from caring EMTs, and an incredible team of nurses and doctors at Maine Medical Center, she died.

During her desperate 18-hour struggle to live, the costs of her care ran up and up and up. Although having good health care couldn’t save her, it may have helped save our family. The complicated realities of the death and loss of a child tear 50 percent of grieving families apart.

Without health care, families in trouble struggle with the additional risk of financial devastation that can be nearly as painful and overwhelming as the medical issues they face.

Sadly, as we wait for our leaders to reach meaningful compromise for affordable health care options, nearly 17,000 families will be forced, each week, to file for bankruptcy because of medical emergencies, according to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Medicine.

In fact, over 61 percent of all bankruptcies that year were caused by medical debt. Clearly, individuals and families are at risk and need support.

Compromise has always been our nation’s most important tool for finding workable solutions.

However, the word “compromise” seems misplaced by our senators in Washington and replaced with the word “posturing” as illustrated by a recent front page saying that Snowe and Collins were “against” the House-passed plan.

We expect our senators and representatives to work faithfully toward compromise, not criticism, so they can find reasonable ways to make health care affordable and accessible for all of us. We’ve already waited too long.

Peggy Marchand

Gorham

 

Time for Maine senators to get control of spending

 

We are writing this letter to encourage voters of Maine to use their votes in any upcoming elections in order to change the current non-functioning government.

We have sent letters to Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe with some budget-cut suggestions directly aimed at members of Congress.

As we understand it, they only pay 30 percent of their health care premiums and we pay the rest, so we have suggested that they take on more financial responsibility to pay for their own health care.

Their benefits become immediately available with no waiting period, no pre-existing condition clauses, and no lifetime maximums.

We also suggested to them that their automatic cost-of-living raise, which takes effect annually unless Congress votes not to accept it, be repealed, and a list of those who let it pass each year be published.

We also questioned them as to why we must provide them with free airport parking.

Because of the current gridlock and the image that we don’t have a Congress that is able to work together, we believe it’s time for members of Congress to take on more of their own financial responsibility and give up some of the current perks in order to convince us that they are serious about cutting costs.

A lot of Americans are suffering day after day because of the inability of our government, on all levels, to understand what is happening in the real world.

We’re hoping that in any upcoming elections, voters will make themselves heard, and that anyone running for re-election should not assume that his or her job is safe. We can’t afford to re-elect people who can’t get the job done.

Laurence W. Allen and Linda L. Allen

Windham

 

 

If Abraham Lincoln were president now, he might say something like this: “Eleven score and 14 years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

We must now think as Americans, not Democrats, Republicans or independents.

We all know America has a problem of spending money it doesn’t have, printing money our children will have to pay for, and it must stop.

We have a forum of great power arriving in November whereby new attitudes can be established. It is for us, the people, thinking as Americans to direct the course. We are too great a nation to be scoffed at by others who witness our problems.

We owe it to ourselves to eliminate the failures and re-establish the moral common sense upon which our nation was born.

Abe Lincoln was a tea drinker. Anyone for a cup of tea?

David Pollard

Charles Sanford

Falmouth