By all accounts, L.D. 1333, a bill revamping the health insurance laws in Maine — with the ink still wet and text barely read — was rushed to a floor vote without the impact of the legislation adequately verified by independent parties or the usual and customary open forum for public input that Maine citizens expect.

As the state with the oldest median age, one loser in L.D. 1333 will be the non-elderly, older demographic in Maine. L.D. 1333 raises the amount this group may be charged from the current 1.5 times to five times the lowest rate.

The bill, as has been referenced by its sponsors and many reports, is modeled after Idaho’s health insurance laws. The median age in Idaho, as per the 2010 census, is 34.2 years, while in Maine the median age is 42.7 years. We are a much different population.

One might conclude that the wish of lower health-care costs to be realized by L.D. 1333 will only occur as the older residents get the message that they are not wanted here, and move to a state more supportive of their age group.

I urge all Maine voters to contact their representatives and demand this bill be thoroughly exposed to dialogue and daylight. Common sense dictates this bill should get more scrutiny than the status of the whoopie pie. After all, we are talking about life and death, not dessert.

Jim Stephenson

Raymond

Mainers as I know them are sensible, caring and thoughtful people, which is why I can’t be the only one out there appalled by the content of L.D. 1333 and the way it was pushed through committee on the sly without proper discussion or any opportunity for everyday citizens like you and me to ask questions, to learn about the pros and cons of this bill, or to have a chance to offer a better alternative.

As I understand it, democracy is built on consensus and well-educated decisions, not on bills that hit us like bombs, hurting our rural communities, devastating our small businesses, and making life even worse for our friends and family members who are chronically ill.

What does all of this mean? It means that not only was your voice not heard, but we are now having a bill forced upon us that primarily benefits insurance companies while significantly increasing insurance costs for many Maine people.

When I talk about costs, you may be wondering how much. Well, here is a fact for you: You could end up paying five times as much as someone else based on your age or because you live in a rural part of the state, regardless of how healthy you are.

Want more facts and more conversation before a destructive bill like this passes? Me too. Visit www.healthcareforme.com to sign the petition, and visit facebook.com/maineleague to be part of the conversation.

Join me in speaking up to end L.D. 1333.

Lauren E. Snead

Steering Committee chairwoman

Maine League of Young Voters

Portland 

Finally, after too many years with a health insurance system responsible for the decline in affordable health care for individual and small group subscribers, our Legislature is overhauling the present system.

As an individual health insurance subscriber, I am forced to purchase insurance from the only major health insurance carrier in Maine, Anthem. Every year, Anthem applies for and receives a premium rate increase for individual subscribers, leaving me no alternative but to pay the higher premium or forfeit my health insurance.

Without competition and with a captive audience, Anthem is able to increase its premiums at will. L.D. 1333 would change the current paradigm by creating competition in the individual insurance market, something that has been absent for too many years.

The legislation, based on a system that has been successful in Idaho, will increase competition among health insurance providers and make premiums affordable to attract both young and healthy individuals.

Some legislators are concerned that this bill is being “ramrodded” through without consideration of its implications. Those legislators have had too many years to make effective changes to the present health insurance system and have neglected to do so.

This legislation is also being resisted by those who believe it doesn’t make sense to make changes now when a new federal health care system will be implemented soon. Those same individuals are fortunate to have an affordable employer-provided health insurance plan, allowing them to wait until sufficient proof is obtained to assure the new legislation will have no negative consequences.

However, I and the thousands of Maine residents who have few options for affordable health insurance cannot wait any longer for relief.

Fred Conti

Freeport

Budget hawks need to go straight to the Pentagon 

Congress wants to cut the budget deficit, but members are focusing on only part of the picture. Cutting programs that help low- and moderate-income families and the elderly will increase hardship and damage our communities. Meanwhile, Congress is ignoring the huge growth in Pentagon spending in the past decade.

The federal government is cutting back on help to states. In Maine, we need funds for education for our young people to equip them to serve in the jobs needed today. We also need to care for our elderly by making the best use of our limited resources.

This is the right moment to cut the Pentagon budget. The federal budget deficit is one of the most serious threats to U.S. national security, and cutting up to $100 billion a year from the Pentagon will promote, not endanger, our security.

I trust Sens. Snowe and Collins are weighing these difficult choices with the common good in view.

Jackie Moreau

Portland

After bin Laden, Obama finally sounds presidential 

I find it quite amusing how quiet the far left has been about “taking out” Osama bin Laden since President Obama stated, on “60 Minutes,” that “justice was done, and I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got ought to have their head examined.”

Finally, he is sounding like a president. Thank you, sir, I salute you! Oh, and one more thing: How’s that inaugural Kool-Aid tasting now?

Kenny Gates

Newfield