President Obama discusses his just-passed health-care bill with a Portland audience in April 2010.
With more than 120,000 uninsured Maine citizens, one would think that Gov. Paul LePage would jump at the opportunity to set up health insurance exchanges to help uninsured individuals and families obtain affordable private health insurance plans.
Instead, LePage has been dragging his feet. His inaction is quite ironic given that health exchanges will provide competition for existing private insurers in Maine, and competition is a business practice that LePage professes to value.
He and his Republican followers in the state Legislature should join their Democratic counterparts in a truly nonpartisan effort to establish private health insurance exchanges as quickly as possible.
Here in Maine, let us immediately begin to implement the health exchange element of the Affordable Care Act, which rests on continuation of private insurance plans and will bring quality, affordable health care to thousands of currently uninsured Maine citizens.
I know firsthand how hard it can be to keep up with expenses every month. The cost of living, the price of just about everything and a shaky economy can be tough to handle.
For years, I also had to take a prescription drug to treat diabetes. As I had Medicare Part D, the program paid for most of my drug costs for the first six months of the year, but once I fell into the prescription drug coverage gap (the "doughnut hole"), that same drug came with a price tag of more than $400 per month.
For anyone who might be doubtful that the Affordable Care Act will make a difference, it is worth noting that over time it closes the doughnut hole completely, which will make a huge difference to millions of Americans across the country, including right here in Maine.
While I don't take that drug anymore, I remember when the winter months came and I'd start getting my oil bills and wondering if I should heat the house, cut down on food or take the drug that I needed so badly then.
I know many people who have very limited incomes, and if they are making decisions like that every month, it is frightening, to say the least. I am glad to see that over time, affording one's prescriptions will become less of a challenge for our at-risk neighbors and families.
There is so much talk about how the new Affordable Health Care Act will be a problem for our liberty and freedom. Huh? I feel we will be liberated, because the Affordable Care Act will give us patient protection from being denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition, and patient protection from an artificial cap of benefits.
This means freedom. Freedom for Americans to start new businesses because they can afford to quit their corporate jobs and strike out on their own without concern that health care may bankrupt them if they have an accident or become ill. Freedom for older Americans to downsize their jobs because they can get affordable health care even though they work part time. And new opportunity for younger Americans to fill the good jobs left behind by those who want to strike out on their own.
Freedom from the fear of health care problems is liberating. Do you want this freedom? Support Obama in November.
State should enforce law pertaining to Oxford Casino
The news about the slipshod work by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection regarding the Oxford Casino ("Oxford Casino's status not a sure bet," July 24) comes as no surprise.
The effort that the Oxford Casino put up and the money it spent to kill the Biddeford casino and racetrack show what kind of people the state of Maine is dealing with.
The Oxford Casino got widespread support from the people of Maine and then, based solely on corporate greed, worked to kill a casino that southern Maine needed. It felt that it couldn't handle the competition, so then underhanded undercutting took over.
Gov. Paul LePage needs to enforce the law (I know, why start now if it involves "business"?). The state DEP needs to do what "we the people" pay it to do -- enforce the law as written.
If not, the courts should shut the casino down and make it and the state, including the governor, comply with the law and follow the process that others have followed in the past. Streamlining the process is one thing. Circumventing it is another matter.
Michael F. Jubinsky
Governor's absence noted as Guard unit is honored
I would like to express how disappointed we all should be that our governor could not take the time to attend the deployment send-off ceremony for the 488th Maine National Guard on July 21.
While 122 of the finest young people of Maine were being honored for their upcoming service overseas, Gov. Paul LePage was apparently so extremely busy that he could not spare 30 minutes of his Saturday to attend.
It is embarrassing that as the pride of this state heads for deployment in Afghanistan, only one elected politician from our state actually appeared in person.
Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and 2nd District Rep. Michael Michaud might be excused if they were conducting business in Washington. However, I expect that even less work gets done on a Saturday in D.C. than on the weekdays.
Here in Maine, LePage sent a department secretary to save himself the inconvenience of having to travel to the civic center just down the road in Augusta.
Thank you, Rep. Chellie Pingree, for being there to help wish the sons and daughters, husbands and wives a safe and purposeful deployment. I am sure I am not the only one who appreciates your presence.
I also hope that I am not the only one who is ashamed that our other politicians could not exhibit the same integrity and respect.
In the event of a major emergency, we can all safely expect that our National Guard will be there to meet their responsibilities and to help. Just don't expect to see our governor.
Wind-farm plans disturb guests, lodge owners say
As owners of a vibrant fishing lodge in eastern Maine that sustains 20 jobs in an otherwise fragile economy, my wife and I can attest to the threat of industrial wind projects to the unspoiled Maine landscape. Folks from away who sustain the outdoor sporting economy of Maine's lodges and guides cringe at what we are doing to our pristine brand.
It is time that our regulators in Augusta wake up to the permanent damage being done for the benefit of a short-sighted economic injection. The people of Lexington and Concord townships are just the latest victims. In this case, the special interests are trumping democracy. Sad.
Forest City Township
Focus on Phelps' failure contradicted Olympic spirit
I was very disappointed with your headline and subsequent photo in the sports section on July 28.
As your lead article on the 2012 London Olympics, the headline (above the fold) was "No win, no nothing." You followed this headline with an unflattering photo of U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps.
I feel that this headline and photo contradict the spirit of the Olympic Games -- to promote camaraderie and sportsmanship and athleticism.
The Maine Sunday Telegram chose to focus on the negative aspect of the 400-meter individual medley race (Phelps failing to medal), rather than celebrating the positive -- the fact that another talented U.S. swimmer, Ryan Lochte, won a gold medal in the race, one of the U.S.'s first gold medals in the games.
The headline should have represented the U.S. team's victory, not failure. We did win the race, we did win a medal, it certainly wasn't "nothing."