In a time where diabetes is becoming epidemic, Gov. LePage’s recommendation to eliminate podiatry from MaineCare to help fix the budget shortfall will only hurt Mainers and create more spending.

Podiatric services are on the chopping block along with dentists and physical therapists as an “optional service” because we are not federally mandated by Medicaid.

In 2009, 87,000 Mainers were diagnosed with diabetes.

It is projected that the incidence of diabetes will double by 2025. Regular diabetic foot exams by a podiatrist decrease the risk of limb-threatening ulcerations and infections requiring hospital stays.

Doctors of podiatric medicine are especially trained to deal with diabetic wounds and infections.

The rate of inpatient medical or surgical hospitalizations for MaineCare members with diabetes was almost eight times the rate for members without diabetes. Regular diabetic foot care prevents members from developing problems that lead to hospitalization and limb amputation.

Without podiatric care, patients will seek treatment at local emergency rooms increasing overall MaineCare spending. This is an issue that needs to be addressed on a state and federal level.

I urge Mainers to contact their local legislator and ask to stop the elimination of podiatry from MaineCare, and state representatives and senators to include podiatry in federal Medicaid so this is no longer an issue.

Michele Kurlanski, DPM

President Maine Podiatric Medical Association

Portland

I try to avoid cliches, but Gov. LePage’s proposed MaineCare cuts are the epitomy of “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Gov. LePage wants to forgo federal matching funds of $2 for every $1 we spend on MaineCare now and cut under his proposal.

He suggests that current recipients should take more responsibility for their own care.

Just how does a person who earns $15,000 a year do that when a simple office visit costs over $100 and medication costs are through the roof?

My son recently had two X-rays done and the bill exceeded $500. Those kind of costs are completely out of the budget of our lowest income citizens.

How would our very low-income elderly pay for their medications on $11,000-a-year Social Security income when they also need to eat and pay rent or property taxes?

The cuts he is proposing would continue to shift costs to hospitals and providers and therefore ultimately to people with insurance whose premiums would rise.

It will result in the loss of jobs for health care workers.

These cuts would also discourage preventative care which ultimately costs less.

A much more appropriate plan would be to implement Managed Care for MaineCare, something that Dr. Dora Mills was working toward in her short tenure as the medical director of MaineCare before she was dismissed early in Gov. LePage’s tenure.

Exploring initiating co-pays or small deductables for appropriate individuals on MaineCare would be an additional option to consider if the goal is having people take some responsibility for their care.

The cuts Gov. LePage is proposing are bad financial policy in addition to being cruel social policy. To even consider these cuts is morally repugnant.

Margaret J. Schoeller, M.D.

Portland

I don’t consider myself a very political man.

At least not until the past few years. Until the insanity reached such a level that I could no longer ignore it.

I now find myself waking up each and every day and saying “Are you kidding me?”

This last straw has finally compelled me enough to publicly verbalize my complete and utter distaste for the LePage administration.

It’s Christmas for crying out loud and LePage’s idea of the best present ever is to kick 65,000 men, women and children off of health coverage when they need it the most. Scrooge and the Grinch would be considered liberal when stacked up against LePage.

LePage has convinced me of one thing, though.

The greatest threat to this country and state is not sitting in a cave in some foreign country. It’s the politicians sitting in office right now. What a complete monster.

Tim Emery

Buxton

So let me get this straight.

Gov. LePage and the Republicans in Augusta push through a budget this past fall that cuts $150 million in state income taxes over the next two years with the vast majority of this money going to the wealthiest in the state.

Then in a Dec. 7 article about his need to cut 65,000 of our poorest and neediest people from the state’s Medicaid program to save $66 million he is quoted as saying “They have not allowed me to print money yet. We have to balance the budget.”

The Republican strategy of “starving the beast” is working.

Cut taxes for the wealthy and then cry poor and mandate that you must cut programs for the poor and needy to balance the budget.

Republicans only represent the interests of the top 1 percent.

When will people wake up and vote these heartless vermin out of office and put people in Augusta that will represent the other 99 percent?

Andy Wright

Cumberland Foreside

I attended a meeting of the Maine Medical Association Legislative Committee last night as an observer.

When the budget cuts for MaineCare were announced, there were several gasps of dismay.

One physician said that he was angry that physical therapy coverage was eliminated under the proposal: “My hands would be tied by these cuts — I would have to treat my patients with narcotics.”

At a time when we are trying to avoid prescribing narcotics to fight the epidemic of drug abuse, these coverage cuts would be counterproductive.

I came to Maine in the 1980s to work here, live here and raise a family here, and it is still a wonderful place to work as a physician.

These misguided MaineCare budget cuts make me wonder if the great state of Maine is moving down a path which goes against its very nature as a caring society.

I urge all Mainers who feel that this is the wrong way to fix a budget gap to contact their legislators or Gov. LePage.

Let’s do this the right way, the caring Maine way.

Peter Bridgman M.D.

Yarmouth