I write in support of the Portland Press Herald’s recent editorial “Our View: MaineCare study won’t tell much we don’t know” (Nov. 21).

Here’s what we know: This year Maine received a $33 million, three-year grant that will test whether new payment and service models will produce superior results and lower costs. Maine also received a Balancing Incentives Grant to support efforts to increase access to non-institutional long-term services and supports.

Both are funded through the Affordable Care Act and provide a road map for real reform, if implemented well.

We also know that over time, expanding affordable health coverage through Medicaid would keep costs down across the entire health care system.

We know that tens of thousands of Mainers would finally have health insurance. Through statewide polling, we also know that 66 percent of Mainers support expanding affordable health coverage to their family, friends and neighbors.

Every year we fight to protect the services that help our most at-risk residents stay in their own homes and communities where we know they want to be. Year after year, the state argues that programs like Drugs for the Elderly and Medicare Savings must be cut or even eliminated due to budget constraints, even though these programs cost the state much less than institutional care.

Now, the state is willing to waste almost $1 million in taxpayer dollars to fund The Alexander Group’s report on Maine’s social service system. Instead, the state should move forward with these innovative pilots they have been funded to implement.

Our leaders should also acknowledge that accepting millions of federal dollars so that Mainers can have health insurance and hospital debt and charity care can be reduced is what Maine needs and what Mainers want.

Rich Livingston

volunteer state president, AARP Maine

Auburn

Biddeford’s bedbug fines are unfair to landlords

OK, now it’s time to pick on another Maine community where the city government has no clue as to what goes on. I’m talking about Biddeford, where the City Council wants an ordinance to fine landlords for bedbug infestation (“Bedbugs rising: Biddeford to get tough on landlords, tenants,” Nov. 7).

What a joke. Maybe instead it should fine the tenants for the problem. Don’t they realize that bedbugs live in all furniture that has cloth on it?

So, let’s say that I own a duplex or apartment building that’s totally cleaned out, unfurnished and bug-free and rent to some new tenants. These tenants move in with their furniture and months later start complaining about bedbugs.

Now I ask you – whose fault is it? The landlord who rented out a bug-free apartment, or the tenant who brought the bedbugs with them? People in that city move so often that they surely didn’t throw out their furniture every time they moved and bought new.

So now the landlord has to fumigate the place at his expense, and after that, if the problem still exists, the tenant goes to the city and complains, and the landlord who did his job twice gets fined if he refuses to clean it again. And yet you see the tenants on TV calling them slumlords.

Where’s the protection for the landlord if the tenants are at fault? There is none. Maybe the landlords should just screen every potential tenant, and demand that they have their furniture cleaned and fumigated or, better yet, buy new, so as not to infest the apartment with the bugs.

I can just wait to see if Portland and surrounding communities follow Biddeford’s lame-brained idea. This has got to be the biggest waste of council authority that has been in the news lately. How about some protection for the landlords?

Frank Teras

Portland

Tea party obstructionists only interested in themselves

The tea party is now hailing themselves as true friends to veterans.

These people are only trying to disturb our country to the point where there would be violence. They hijacked the tea party name, but the spirit of the original Tea Party is far from what these people are about.

Every time Michele Bachmann opens her mouth she sends out a fundraising letter, and most of them are the same. Money, money and more money for them while they’re letting America go bust.

Expressing your point of view and speech that borders on inciting violence is a thin line, but one that can be easily seen. These tea party people have done nothing but obstruct the progress of our country. A small group of people, radicals, who held our government – our country – prisoner. Any veteran who cares about America will have stood by the commander in chief and those in charge of keeping law and order.

When I was a child we used to practice on the typewriter, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”

I would say that now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country and stop these few people from ever again holding up the progress of our country and making us look like idiots in the eyes of the rest of the world.

The last thing we need is these extremist, right-wing radicals trying to put themselves on a pedestal for us to worship. What we do need is a process for removing them when they are obstructing the stability and progress of our country.

Louis Sinclair

sergeant, U.S. Army, 1963-1966

Windham

Will the ACLU battle for pro-life protesters?

I’ve noticed that the American Civil Liberties Union is going to bat for the panhandlers in the city. Do you suppose they will also help the pro-life protesters with their new buffer zone? It will be interesting to see.

Dave Ryder

Portland

Proud to have a chance to vote for Collins again

I have lived in Maine a long time and voted in all elections. I take my vote seriously and am very proud of certain votes, such as John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Ed Muskie and Joe Brennan. There have been other votes that I regret.

We have a great senator in Susan Collins, and I will be very proud to vote for her again. Maine could not do any better. We are fortunate to have a person with her honesty and integrity. Many states don’t have that option.

Bruce Roberts

Sanford