Maine recently received a $33 million federal grant to improve efficiency and service in Medicare, Medicaid and the private health care market — an important step.

Another way to improve access to affordable health care is through Medicaid expansion. 

Thousands of Americans have lost their jobs and cannot afford health insurance or are working in jobs without health benefits.

Expanding affordable health coverage in 2013 through the Affordable Care Act would have helped more than 16,000 Mainers age 50 to 64 who find themselves in this situation and who do not qualify for Medicaid health coverage.

Unfortunately, our Legislature couldn’t garner enough votes to override the governor’s veto of Medicaid expansion.

The ACA expands health coverage options, just one element of the law that would give people without insurance access to preventive and primary care. Over time, expanding affordable health coverage would keep costs down across the entire health care system.

Even the conservative Heritage Foundation published a report stating that Maine would save almost $700 million through this measure.

It’s common sense: If there is a way to help residents get back on their feet after losing their jobs, the state should take advantage of that opportunity. 

Maine missed the initial chance in 2013 to accept millions of dollars in federal funds to offer residents health insurance as well as reduce hospital debt and charity care.

We urge our elected leaders to do the right thing in 2014 and expand health care coverage for hardworking Mainers.

Rich Livingston

volunteer state president, AARP Maine

Auburn

Common Core standards give away too much power

The Common Core is an evolutionary model for what every totalitarian regime craves: the power to “re-educate.”

It purports, along with the aligned 21st Century Learning initiative, to produce “global citizens.”

Remember, there is no such thing as a global constitution.

There is a United States Constitution.

There is no such thing as a “global” concept of the intrinsic and inalienable freedom and dignity of every human being.

There are time-tested and proven Judeo-Christian, Western and Enlightenment notions that inspire and guide our American republic.

To me, “globalism” is about inculcating a new self-identity into each student, with little reference to their American citizenship or Western heritage.

This is, of course, a conservative’s opinion. No doubt, if educational institutions at all levels were dominated by traditionalists, secular-progressives would find much to criticize.

My opposition to Common Core is not ideological. I oppose it, and the rest of the reform movement, because it concentrates too much power in the hands of too few decision-makers.

No one should be entrusted with the power to shape every young American mind — neither an Obama nor a Bush.

The very decentralization of American education has been a guarantor of our ongoing freedom.

It is true that the 50 state governments are each more involved with funding and decision-making than they ideally should be. Local school boards should run local schools.

But 50 state governments running education are infinitely preferable to a doctrinaire orthodox uniformity originating in Washington.

This issue is neither liberal-progressive nor conservative-libertarian. It pits those who trust the federal government to mold the consciousness of every American student against anyone who suspects that such centralized power might be corrupted into an instrument of propaganda.

Brainwashing is always a horror, no matter the ideology.

Ralph K. Ginorio

Limington

Kesich presents solid case against Syrian intervention

It is not often that I find myself in complete agreement with Greg Kesich, but his Sept. 4 commentary, “Too many questions behind Syrian intervention,” was spot on.

There are too many inconsistencies in the so-called evidence for us to make such a drastic decision to go to war.

Regardless of what cute terms our president and secretary of state want to use to minimize the seriousness of this action, dropping bombs or launching missiles against another country is a declaration of war.

There are reports out of Turkey that Turkish security forces apprehended Syrian rebel forces attempting to cross their border with a canister of sarin gas. The rebels are alleging the gas was supplied by Saudi Arabian sources. Please investigate this.

Secretary of State John Kerry is claiming “incontrovertible proof” that the Assad regime orchestrated and carried out the attacks. He just can’t let us see the proof in order to protect the sources. Isn’t this from the same playbook that led to the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? What delicious irony! Will he be for this war before he is against it?

We have no stake in Syria worth the risk that intervention will bring. To paraphrase our president, drawing a red line in the sand was an act of the (world) policeman acting stupidly! His pride will not allow him to back down. Better to let innocent civilians die than admit his mistake.

If Bashar Assad is truly responsible, use the World Court and indict him for crimes against humanity. Present the proof in court and convict him in absentia if necessary. He will become a prisoner in his own country, where he is already a target and despised by many.

Robert Pelletier

Gorham

Paper slights WWII vets by ignoring historic dates

Omissions and mistakes are occasionally made in the news, but I find these most unbelievable.

June 6 came and went with no mention in the Portland Press Herald of the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

Then came Aug. 6 and 9, anniversaries of the world’s first atomic bombings in 1945, and Aug. 15, the anniversary of the day in 1945 when Japan’s emperor announced the surrender.

And then much to my dismay, there was no mention in the Press Herald of the events of Sept. 2, 1945: the signing on the USS Missouri of the agreement officially ending the greatest war mankind has ever known.

We remember all those who served, and especially those who paid the ultimate price — along with their families, parents, wives, brothers and sisters and their unimaginable loss.

Update your calendar, Press Herald.

We salute all veterans.

Patrick M. Lawler

Raymond