I have been reading with dismay the newspaper articles reporting that the incoming attorney general of Maine and the governor-elect are planning to join a lawsuit in Florida challenging the federal Affordable Care Act.

It should be noted that these two men, who have (or will have) jobs that provide for comprehensive employer-provided health insurance coverage, are seeking to deny similar benefits to many citizens of Maine.

Moreover, I’m not sure that adding Maine to the litigation does anything except incur litigation costs for a state that is already strapped for resources. Certainly the court system is hardly waiting to hear Maine’s purported view on this subject.

And I don’t think that a governor who received 38 percent of votes cast, and who won by a margin of 1 percent, can represent that all Mainers oppose the new health care law.

Finally, I hope that the governor-elect will be more careful in the future instead of making patently false assertions that, once 35 states join a lawsuit opposing a federal statute, the law “dies automatically.”

Surely, consulting with knowledgeable advisers before uttering such incorrect assertions would be a recommended first step for our new governor.

Kenneth Spirer


A story in the Dec. 6 Press Herald is very disappointing news. After a long political campaign and claiming concerns about the rising cost of health care, the new LePage administration is heading in the wrong direction.

The announcement by the new Attorney General William Schneider and Gov.-elect Paul LePage that they are considering joining a lawsuit filed by 20 other states to repeal the new Affordable Care Act is not in the best interest of Maine’s citizens.

There is no court in our country that will lower health care costs or establish an affordable health insurance program. Only the Legislature, both in Maine and Congress, has the authority to make laws, and the Affordable Care Act is the law.

With more than $11 billion in total health care spending occurring in Maine in 2009, chasing some long-shot court case is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Gov. Baldacci, his administration and legislators have been, for the last nine months and with federal grants of over $1 million, studying the best ways to apply the new Affordable Care Act in Maine.

A final report was due last week for the use of the 125th Legislature and the LePage administration. The announcement by the governor-elect and the new attorney general is going backwards, the wrong direction.

The lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Florida will certainly end up at the U.S. Supreme Court someday, and in the meantime the Affordable Care Act will continue.

John Carr


I am opposed to Gov.-elect Paul LePage’s and incoming Attorney General William Schneider’s plan to join a pending lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. It is not “a fight worth having,” as David Crocker of the Maine Heritage Policy Center states.

Apparently he thinks it is more important to fight the federal government than it is to provide access to affordable health care to thousands of Mainers who now go without it.

It makes sense that Crocker would say that, however, when you know that the Cato Institute is behind the Maine Heritage Policy Center. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. Cato was founded in 1977 by Edward Crane and Charles Koch, the billionaire co-owner of Koch industries, the largest privately owned company in the United States.

The Cato Institute has consistently pushed for corporate tax cuts, reductions in social services, and laissez-faire environmental policies.

Hey, Gov.-elect LePage, what happened to “people before politics?”

Dan Demeritt, LePage’s spokesman, states that joining the case would not be superfluous because LePage represents 1.3 million people.

I have a message for LePage: I am one of those people, and I think the Affordable Care Act is a good thing for the people of Maine!

Gus Goodwin


Christmas stories raise variety of reflections

I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to the village of Kennebunkport for its heartwarming Christmas Prelude celebration.

The decorations and cordiality expressed by the shopkeepers and the choral singers were a wonderful start to this holy season. As a Christian and a Catholic, I was joyful for the sound of high school students’ voices raised in hymns to my lord and savior whose birth I celebrate each Christmas with other Christians.

Thank you, Kennebunkport, for being brave enough to keep Christ in Christmas. I’m certain there were among the revelers some non-Christians who were enjoying the festivities and music, at least I hope so.

It is the reason for this season to bring us all together in love and hope. I feel the atmosphere at Prelude at least made me feel so. Thanks again.

Elizabeth Chionchio


In the “Reflections” column on the Religion & Values page on Dec. 11, the Rev. Merle G. Steva writes: “The geography of Christmas, as so often is the case of true places, is not to be found on any map.”

I don’t know if Rev. Steva realizes how closely his words echo Herman Melville in Moby Dick.

Of Kokovo Island, the home of the harpooner Queequeg, Melville says: “It is not down on any map; true places never are.”

Joseph Conforti


“I heard the bells on Christmas Day/Their old familiar carols play.

“And wild and sweet/The words repeat

“Of peace on earth/Good will to men.”

These beautiful words, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, made me think that perhaps we should once again ring the church bells on Sunday morning, so long silenced by those who felt it an intrusion.

If families would shut off the television, cell phones, iPods and Facebook, take the children by the hand and bring them into the church to join in the beautiful old Christmas hymns, we would regain much we have lost.

Let us take back our churches. Better still, let us take our children and pick up a neighbor. What a wonderful day that would be!

Marie C. Brown