The Republicans must be pretty desperate to attack Chellie Pingree on ethics. There are many things that make Chellie a great representative of the state, but I think being ethical tops the list.

She also works incredibly hard to make sure people without big incomes have what we should all have – access to affordable health care, low-cost drugs, jobs that pay well and security in our old age.

I don’t know her partner, S. Donald Sussman, but I do appreciate his support of Hardy Girls Healthy Women. As a co-creator of an organization working to create the next generation of leaders in Maine, I wish more rich businessmen were like him.

Karen Heck

Waterville

 

Are we paying attention in the 1st Congressional District? Polls suggest we’re upset with Congress and are ready to turn the rascals out. We’re alarmed at the state of the economy; we don’t like the direction President Obama is taking the country; and we’re in favor of electing Paul LePage to undo the damage Libby Mitchell and her liberal cohorts in the Legislature have inflicted on Maine.

With all this in mind, I am shocked that the polls show Chellie Pingree leading Dean Scontras. How can this be? If we disapprove of Congress, how can we approve of her? She represents all that is wrong with Congress with her 100 percent support of every Obama and (Nancy) Pelosi initiative. She is a loyal tool of organized labor; completely supportive of bailouts, stimulus, earmarks, and cap and trade. She doesn’t think Obamacare went far enough, and she’s never seen a spending scheme she doesn’t like.

During her tenure in the Legislature prior to election to Congress, she was at least as guilty as Libby Mitchell for reducing Maine to Third World status. She is heavily financed by out-of-state interests as she flies about in her hedge-fund-provided luxurious jet. She makes Charlie Rangel look like a conservative Boy Scout.

Porter D. Leighton

Falmouth

 

I have a close friend who suffered a stroke nearly three years ago. He is a World War II veteran, having served in the Navy in the Pacific. He has been in a nursing home all this time and the stroke, which paralyzed his right side, has also left him with the inability to talk. This is an 82-year-old man who lived 70 miles from Bangor but never failed to meet returning troops from overseas, even if it was snowy and 2 in the morning.

I contacted Togus, hoping to get speech therapy for him, but they said he had to go there and I knew he couldn’t physically make the trip. I was really hoping that the VA could send a speech therapist to the nursing home, but apparently not so.

I went on Chellie Pingree’s website about a week ago and it said you could write to her about any concerns you had. So I wrote to her about my friend, thinking that my note would be promptly discarded. Much to my surprise, I got a call from one of her staff, asking for the nursing home’s phone number and telling me that the situation would be thoroughly investigated and they would get back to me with a progress report.

I haven’t heard back yet, but the fact that she (through her aide) responded to my plea speaks clearly to the sincere concern she has for fellow Mainers. So, Chellie, even if nothing comes of this effort to help my friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for trying to help him.

Montelle L. Small

Portland

Responsibility, patience keys to better health care

 

You recently published a story about a man from another state who chose to have treatment to extend his life for four months. The cost was $93,000. When asked why he chose to receive it, he answered that he opted for it because it was “free.” He was smiling in the picture, and one needed to be happy for him that he had found a way to enjoy living just a little longer.

But let’s make no mistake. A $93,000, four-month medical fix is not free. None of it is free. Patients and taxpayers pick it up in insurance premiums, taxes supporting the research that develops it, Medicare, Medicaid, and the benefits forgone because our medical costs are swallowing up budgets.

Many people help pick it up, but can’t afford care for themselves and their families. Doctors and hospitals pick it up when patients no longer come to them because of fear of their resulting bills. Businesses pick it up as it depresses their profits and ability to grow. Society picks it up as more people become less healthy. Everybody pays.

We shall only see costs come down when we take greater charge of our own bodies, demand the respect of being offered more safe and healthy alternatives and affordable solutions, and remember that we are a community – there is strength in numbers, and our voices can effect change.

Rep. Andrea Boland

Sanford

 

We all have some familiarity with the concept of momentum. A heavy object, like a freight car, takes a lot more force and time to start or stop it than does a light object, like a kid on a bicycle. The same basic principle applies to our massive economy and health care system. Applying a force to change such a system does not have a noticeable immediate effect.

This great recession was the result of financial malpractices over the course of many years. After the economic stimulus bill was passed, it took several months for the benefits to start flowing into the economy and stop the hemorrhaging. It finally did serve to stop the rate of increase in unemployment, although the current situation is still very bad. Current home foreclosures are a result of momentum – the sad leftovers from the era of adjustable-rate mortgages sold during the first decade of this new century. Unfortunately, more time is still needed to work off the momentum of these problems.

Similarly, the problems in our health care system have been building for many decades. The first features of the health care reform bills (passed in March) are just now being implemented. It will take a long time before the momentum will build enough to offset the rising costs and problems caused by the previous situation.

The Obama administration has been in place less than two years, with most Republicans opposing every step of the way. Given the momentum built into the economy and our health care system, the president will be very lucky if things are much better by November 2012. It would be the height of foolishness to throw out the changes now.

Dr. Robert Wagner

Portland