In your lead story by John Richardson (“For Maine, ruling will be felt almost immediately,” June 30), Gov. Paul LePage is quoted as saying of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act: “It is a sad day,” that the federal government is overreaching, individual choices are being infringed upon, eroding our freedoms and so on.

The ACA is far from perfect, but it will eliminate a lot of “sad days” for America and Maine by providing many more people with access to health insurance and primary care.

On the other hand, Gov. LePage has brought a lot of “sad days” to the state of Maine: He and the Republican Legislature will be eliminating health insurance for thousands of Mainers now covered by Medicaid, and our health insurance laws are being eviscerated so that fly-by-night insurance companies can come in here from “away,” sell cheap insurance and kick people off their policies when they get sick.

All this for the sake of jobs. Where are all those jobs, governor?

This governor and his legislators are very good at creating “sad days” for a lot of Mainers with very little in return. It will be up to all of us to create a big “sad day” for this governor and his cohorts in a couple of years. It will also be up to all of us to make sure that the governor and his administration effectively implement the ACA. It’s the law now, governor!

Kevin Twine


Every once in a great while, Paul LePage voices an opinion that is (surprising to some) well-phrased.

Most recently, in his reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, he says the legislation infringes “upon the individual choices that we, as Americans, have in pursuing our own American dream.”

We can assume he refers to one American’s individual choice to refuse to carry health insurance. It appears that many feel that such a choice should not be fined or taxed. That issue may be worth revisiting.

However, another American has the right to individual choices that differ. One person may choose to not carry health insurance, to not wear a motorcycle helmet or to not quit smoking, all choices made presumably in pursuit of their American dream.

I, on the other hand, wish to make a choice to not pay for other people’s health care, though I, and millions of other Americans, have been doing so for decades, through higher-than-reasonable insurance premiums, taxes raised to reimburse medical providers for their “free” services and catastrophically higher-than-reasonable medical costs.

Whose individual choices, whose American dream, should be subject to infringement?

Bonnie M. Riddle

South Portland

The Affordable Care Act offers a way to reform our existing health care system to improve quality, increase access and decrease costs. This act has already provided benefit to “everyday people” and will provide more in the future.

The ACA holds insurance companies accountable to play by rules. For example, insurance companies will no longer be able to retroactively cancel policies when you need care and they find you made a minor mistake on your application.

The ACA will help reduce health care costs in many ways. One example is requiring insurance companies to spend 80 percent of money taken in on care or provide a rebate.

Perhaps most significant in terms of cost reduction, the ACA provides incentives to the delivery system to increase patient outcomes and satisfaction with care while reducing cost of care.

Many emergency room visits and hospitalizations could be prevented by patient centered, coordinated care that innovative delivery systems such as accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes are providing.

The ACA will help increase access to care, for example, by allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, providing free preventive care, eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions, providing tax credits to help with insurance costs and the development of the insurance exchanges that will allow individuals to choose from a variety of insurance offerings that can be affordable even to those unemployed.

The ACA helps those on Medicare with drug costs. The free prevention and coordinated care also are a great help to seniors.

The Affordable Care Act has been described as decreasing health care costs in the long term. The ACA is a good thing for “everyday people.”

Susan Henderson R.N., MA

South Portland

States’ laws on marriage not subject to religious rules

Philip Kennard (“Someone’s missing Bible’s facts on same-sex marriage,” July 4) and Lane Parrish (“Count on Dill to advocate for all Mainers’ freedoms,” June 2) are both misguided in their letters about gay marriage.

The First Amendment to our Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

America is not a Christian nation, or a Zoroastrian nation or a nation of any religion.

Each of us is entitled to our own spiritual tenets and convictions — or lack thereof — providing we obey the laws of the land — civil laws.

Whatever either of these folks finds as “fact” in the Bible regarding gay marriage or any other matter relating to their religious beliefs is not relevant to U.S. citizenship.

The several states of the union have laws pertaining to marriage.

None of these laws is subject to biblical or other religion-based strictures.

Alexander Severance


Appreciation should be conveyed before it’s too late

In the twilight years of my life I have realized that several people have had a significant impact on my existence. Unfortunately, two of those folks have recently passed on to the next phase of eternity before I recognized and communicated to them just how much I treasured their friendship.

Accordingly, I resolved that the friendship of other individuals who have had a similar effect on my life must be informed of my appreciation of their friendship.

Therefore, I took pen in hand and wrote each of them a short thank-you note for being a vital factor in my life.

I would urge others who may have valued friendships to give recognition, preferably in writing, to those individuals who have had a significant effect on their life.

John Barritt

Cape Elizabeth


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