Over the past two weeks there has been unprecedented legislative action affecting health care in Maine. On the national level we have seen the enactment of sweeping health care reform.

Less noticed was a decision by the Legislature to table an amendment to the Health Care Cooperation Act that would have permitted hospitals to form integrated relationships with physician groups when the public good benefits. These actions appear to be heading in opposite directions.

Most of us are uncertain how these decisions will affect our lives, but we are certain that the nature of health care is changing. As someone who spent the first half of my 27 years as a cardiologist in Maine rejecting the idea of “corporate medicine,” I have been rewarded by seeing cardiology in Maine rank with the very best in the country. My attitude has changed.

As the cost of care has outstripped America’s ability to pay the bill, there are real threats of physician shortages in rural states due to doctors leaving private practices and difficult recruitment. Fewer cardiologists means longer waits for patients and for some, care only when a preventable health catastrophe has already occurred.

In response to these pressures, more than 70 percent of cardiologists across the country are either employed by or are seeking integration with their hospital systems.

Nationally recognized health systems such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic have demonstrated the ability to provide the highest quality care at lower costs through integration with their physicians. Physicians in these systems report that they have more time to spend with their patients.

It is time for physicians, hospitals and the public to work together to craft the health care system of the future which will continue to give Maine the care that it deserves.

John Love, M.D.

Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine

Scarborough

 

The new health care bill should help Americans become healthier. Instead of going to the emergency room, with its excessive costs, individuals will begin to seek primary doctors and preventive steps to help find better health.

I was sad to see your article giving a negative slant to primary doctors benefiting from the health bill. Doctors are working for us and deserve to be rewarded, especially after years of paying for their education.

Cris Hudson

Old Orchard Beach

 

Regarding your front-page story March 27 explaining President Obama’s visit to Maine: Rep. Chellie Pingree released a written statement declaring that the health care law rammed through recently “helps small businesses, seniors and average Americans.”

I am a senior. How can she make this ludicrous statement about helping me? Her vote helps to reduce Medicare by $500 billion – this is going to help me? Voters – put someone else in Washington this November. Vote Pingree out.

Edward Pearce

Scarborough

 

CMP transmission upgrade benefits firm, not Mainers

 

The Maine Public Utilities Commission should definitely not approve Central Maine Power Co.’s proposal to upgrade its transmission system.

In the March 25 article by Tux Turkel, “Sierra Club fights CMP project,” CMP states that it has studied transmission alternatives and found them technically and financially inferior. I believe that inferior, in this case, means that they would not derive as large a profit transmitting inexpensive electricity to our southern New England neighbors.

What most of our Maine citizens do not understand is that CMP, which used to be a Maine company, is now owned by Iberdrola USA, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, S.A., of Spain. The $1.6 billion transmission corridor would be paid by Maine CMP electricity users by an increase in our electricity bills.

It is not difficult to understand why Central Maine Power Co. is really working hard to push this project through. Hydro Quebec, which sells a large amount of electricity to the southern New England states, would have an additional electricity transmission corridor available.

Hydro Quebec is also in negotiations to purchase electric generating plants in New Brunswick, and the CMP corridor through Maine would be the shortest way to send electricity to our southern neighbors.

CMP is trying to put the fear in our citizens that without this updated corridor and grid, our state will be more vulnerable to blackouts.

Being part of the region’s grid operator, ISO New England, makes us more vulnerable at present, because most of the blackouts have been caused by heavy power users in southern New England.

Citizens of Maine, please be active and contact your legislators and PUC commissioners to defeat this program as it is being proposed. Possibly, if our southern New England neighbors were willing to share in this proposal, which would benefit them as members of the ISO grid, it might be somewhat more palatable for the citizens of Maine.

Fernand LaRochelle

Westbrook

 

Rosa Scarcelli a leader who can make Maine grow

 

As a Maine business owner and someone who grew up in Maine, I know we are in need of a governor who has great vision, proven leadership, intelligence and the energy and enthusiasm to implement that which they promise.

Rosa Scarcelli is that person.

The governor is the leader of the business of the state of Maine, the Legislature is middle management and the citizens of our great state are the customers they serve. In the field of candidates for governor, there is no one who understands this more than Rosa. We need a business mind to rebuild Maine, someone who is not afraid to look at the income and expense and know what costs are needed and what costs are not.

She is not afraid to invest where necessary to maximize growth and cut where necessary when those investments are no longer providing a return for the people of Maine.

Rosa has successfully turned around and grown a Maine company. She understands what is needed to turn Maine around, with jobs at the top of that list. As a lifelong Maine resident, she also has a great deal of passion for keeping Maine pristine.

She understands the value of merging growth and our environment in such a way that we maintain this place we love for our children and the millions of tourists who visit Maine each year.

My vote is going to Rosa Scarcelli.

John Milburn

Portland