So now Gov. LePage is finally doing what no other politician in Maine has the guts to do. He is proposing cuts to MaineCare. Kudos to the governor.

Approximately 300,000 people in Maine are on MaineCare, or about one-quarter of the population. How many of these people can afford to smoke a $7 pack or two of cigarettes a day?

How many of these people clog the doctor’s offices and emergency rooms because their health care is “free”? Free visits, free prescriptions, unlimited doctor visits, no co-pays.

I saw on the news where one Democratic lawmaker called the governor’s proposal “appalling.”

You know what is truly appalling? That I work 50 to 60 hours a week and pay for my own health care through my employer’s high-deductible plan and have established my own health savings account to make me more accountable for my own health care costs, yet 300,000 of my citizen brothers and sisters have no accountability, no cost, no restrictions. It’s all free, courtesy of my and my girlfriend’s tax dollars.

Liberals preach sharing the wealth. Well, how about sharing the burden? Those who receive free health care at my expense should be held accountable and be made to pay part of their costs, no matter how small.

You know what else is “appalling”? That our elected representatives cannot see this.

Sick and tired of it all,

Mark Richardson

Pownal

Shame on our governor for proposing a cut of 65,000 low-income individuals from MaineCare, and also cutting mental health, dental services, physical therapy and other medical services that have been determined to be medically necessary. This action may provide short-term savings but is more than likely to increase the cost of care in the long term.

Time and again, states have seen that cuts to medically necessary services will soon result in long lines at emergency rooms. Will the governor accept responsibility when Mainers have long waits to find open hospital beds because his lack of imagination has put many of the 65,000 in those beds?

He misses the point when he fails to understand that the problem he was hired to solve is keeping Mainers’ access to health care. Not only does he give up on this public mission, but he fails to solve the budget problem.

All he has done is to shift it on to others even less able to bear the cost: poor people and their families, hospitals, community clinics and every Mainer seeking health care in a system that will have the same demands, but far fewer resources, thanks to our short-sighted governor.

Has the governor explored savings in nursing home care and eligibility, pharmaceutical discounts, bundled services packages, effective use of managed care, improved computer tracking systems? We find it hard to believe that, in his brief tenure in office, the governor has explored every other option available to him.

We need to hear from our governor that he has conferred with the 49 other states to see what effective methods they have used to bar such draconian measures.

We Mainers care about our neighbors. Maybe our governor should listen to all of us, not just his friends in the corporate world.

Niles Schore and Anne Vaughan

Berwick

Dental patients need to get heads-up on free services 

The Dentists Who Care for ME was founded in 2009 to provide a day of free dental care for the neediest of our population in Greater Portland. This year’s event could not have occurred without the generosity of 33 dentists and their staff, who opened their offices to the public, and the many dentists who offered vouchers to be redeemed for more comprehensive treatment such as oral surgery, root canals or dentures.

Over the last three years, the Dentists Who Care for ME have treated more than 1,600 patients and generated nearly $500,000 worth of donated dental services. This was possible with the help of the Greater Portland Dental Society and the Maine Dental Association. Our hope is that this program grows and continues to serve our neediest people statewide.

Please know that this could not have occurred without getting the necessary information out through newspapers and other media such as TV and radio.

The Portland Press Herald published the locations of the 11 dental offices that participated in this event on its Web page. We heard from many patients who did not have computers or access to the Internet, and therefore had difficulty locating the nearest offices to receive needed treatment.

It is vitally important that the Press Herald reach the people of Maine who are in need. Hopefully, we can count on the newspaper next year to give greater coverage of and information on this wonderful annual event.

That said, we would like to thank and recognize The Portland Press Herald for all the help it gives us, and we look forward to working with the Press Herald in making this program even more successful in the future.

Barry C. Saltz, DDS

Demi Kouzounas, DMD

Scarborough

Animal shelters welcome holiday visits, donations 

A wonderful way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas this year — especially if you have children —  is to take a trip to your nearest animal shelter or rescue farm.

From experience, I’m sure they would welcome pet food, clean towels or blankets, kitty litter and critter toys, and/or cash donations, no matter how modest. Call and check.

If you can’t fit a holiday visit in, I’m sure the people who devote their lives to helping animals would appreciate a Christmas/holiday season card — with maybe a check for the shelter or sanctuary animals inside!

Carol Wanbaugh

Portland