I am writing to call on Gov. LePage to negotiate with the federal government and accept Medicaid funds under the health reform law. These funds would cover an estimated 69,500 low-income Mainers, including refugees and people granted asylum who have made their home here in Maine.

With insurance, individuals and families from our communities will be less likely to delay getting the care they need. This improves their well-being and brings down long-term health care costs for everyone.

Access to health care is very important for many refugees and people granted asylum who have fled their country of origin because of unsafe living conditions. Many of these individuals are managing serious health conditions and coping with the aftereffects of violence and war.

Accepting federal funds benefits our economy. It creates jobs and makes workers healthier and more productive. Second to health care, employment is the most important need in the immigrant community.

Do you know that a report from Maine Equal Justice Partners and the Maine Center for Economic Policy recently found that Maine would receive $250 million in federal funds each year? This would stimulate $350 million in economic activity and 3,100 new jobs by 2016.

Federal funding that would improve our communities’ health and our economy is just too good a deal for Maine to pass up.

Mohamud Barre

executive director, Somali Culture and Development Association

Portland

Our state has an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Mainers by accepting federal funds to cover 69,500 more people through Medicaid.

That is 69,500 more people in Maine with health insurance, giving them access to needed care, including routine screenings for cancer, which let us find disease early, when it is most treatable and when treatment is less expensive.

Each year the Komen Maine Affiliate grants funds to support breast cancer services into Maine communities.

We fund mammograms, diagnostic testing and even transportation to treatment, and focus on serving people who lack adequate health coverage.

We are proud of the impact that we and our community partners have.

But even our best efforts to serve those in need are not enough. Until everyone in our state has access to health coverage, there will be too many people who fall through the cracks.

There is no reason why anyone should have to forgo cancer screening because they cannot afford it.

I hope everyone who supports our mission of ending breast cancer will encourage their legislators to accept these federal funds.

The money is there to benefit Mainers. We’d be foolish to miss such an opportunity.

Regina Rooney

community outreach manager, Maine Affiliate of Susan G. Komen

Bangor

Senators must stand up for tougher anti-violence laws

Thank you for your editorial on March 6 (“Our View: Gun trafficking bill a good place to start“) complimenting Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins for supporting legislation that would make it harder to traffic guns illegally, and, at the same time, asking them to support tougher legislation designed to reduce the incidences of horrific mass shootings.

Thus far, both senators have been reluctant to commit to unqualified support for tougher measures to curb gun violence. I welcome all pressure on them, including yours, to stand up and be counted in favor of tougher laws against gun violence.

Madge Baker

Shapleigh

Counties can recoup aid cut by keeping local sales taxes

Let’s try a different approach to budgeting. The governor wants to cut assistance to counties. (He wants to recoup the money he gave away with his vote-buying tax cut.) Accept his plan.

Counties should get innovative! All sales taxes collected will remain in the county where the sales occurred. Each county will develop a formula to divide the sales taxes among the municipalities in the county.

A good programmer should have little trouble developing a program to control the collection and division of sales taxes collected.

Charles Copp

Westbrook

City Council’s actions show little regard for taxpayers

It’s time for a big change in Portland, once a great city to live in. The change I have in mind is replacing the entire City Council with people who have common sense.

I wish I had the time and space to write all the faults, but I don’t, so here’s a few: how they waste taxpayers’ dollars and too many foolish ordinances affecting how we breathe, how we eat and how we drive. Now it’s Styrofoam cups and food packaging.

They already have fouled up traffic coming and going into the city. Now they’re reducing traffic lanes. But there’s more to come! It’s getting so you have to spend more time waiting and using more gas getting into the city.

City departments should have to carry over money not used into the next year, like the snowplowing and snow-removal budget, instead of spending leftover money.

It’s getting so you can’t smoke outside in places, but yet we will have to inhale fumes from trucks, cars and buses that are stopped waiting in traffic.

Take a look at all the ordinances they waste time writing that local police don’t even enforce. And just think, we pay the city councilors to make these decisions for us.

Hint: How about spending your time trying to figure out how to lower taxes, cut spending and save the taxpayers’ money for a change, instead of telling me what to drink my coffee out of or take my leftovers home in?

How about getting the panhandlers off the city streets begging for money before they cause a traffic accident?

Or better yet, have the gonads to stand up to those people who threaten to take the city to court over your ordinances, like the cab drivers at the jetport or the homeless on street corners.

But like I said before, the taxpayers have deep pockets. You don’t care.

Frank Teras

Portland