The Affordable Care Act may be the most misunderstood piece of legislation in recent history. Opponents, television news (both network and cable) and President Obama’s administration have all contributed to the public’s lack of understanding of this important law.

I will not attempt to clarify all aspects of the law in this letter. I will make one irrefutable point: The Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare, if you prefer – does not create a system of socialized medicine in the United States.

Socialized medicine as defined and practiced in other countries is a system in which the government owns and operates hospital care facilities and employs doctors, nurses and other professional health care providers on the government payroll.

Look around, and the only such hospital in Maine or any other state is a veterans hospital such as the facility in Togus. There, the Veterans Health Administration actually provides socialized medicine for veterans of our armed services.

Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs for our seniors are single-payer systems that function within our private-sector health insurance system.

There is no pending legislation before Congress that would nationalize all hospitals and demand that all doctors, nurses and other health care providers give up private practice and go on government payrolls. Until such legislation is proposed, there is no valid reason to worry about socialized medicine becoming a reality in America.

Imagine a legislator bringing forth such a bill. Can’t do it? Relax, the free-enterprise system of insurance company-provided health care is alive and well and under no threat from the Affordable Care Act.

Feel better? Good. If not, go to your doctor, take out the insurance card showing coverage obtained through the Affordable Care Act exchange and get treatment. There will be no government bureaucrat standing in the way.

Tom Foley

Cumberland Foreside

The rather put-upon, fact-free letter from a tea party member attacking Obamacare was an excellent example of how woefully misinformed these people are. The letter writer talks about the health care bill as having been rammed through Congress, somehow forgetting the months of daily wrangling, debate and heartbreaking compromise it took, until the bill ended up resembling something much more in line with Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan.

And I want to reassure the letter writer that no one is going to force him to change doctors or his current insurance policy. Obamacare is designed to provide access to health insurance for people who are currently unable to afford it. And as for the complaint that Obamacare is unconstitutional – first of all, the Supreme Court doesn’t think so, and furthermore, I would challenge any tea party member out there to please point out what particular provision of the Constitution Obamacare violates. I for one am very proud of a president who tries to help those who are less fortunate.

John Manderino


Government deserves refund for broken health care site

If I bought a toaster and it didn’t work, I would take it back and get a refund. I hope someone from the U.S. government has asked for a refund on the multimillion-dollar contract for creating a website for the national health care system that doesn’t work. Private industries wouldn’t be in business long if they produced products like that.

S.L. Varney


It’s easy to overlook value of seniors who volunteer

Imagine, if you will, a world without volunteers. Then you’d have to imagine a world without senior citizens. For our communities rely on them, on their willingness, enthusiasm, expertise, experience, knowledge and their time to help in a hundred different ways. Think of hospice without volunteers, a museum without tour guides, Habitat for Humanity, the causes they become involved in: political, literacy, environmental, to name a few. And advocates for abused women, AARP, our very own Senior College, hospitals, libraries, schools, nursing homes and churches.

Volunteerism can enrich a senior’s life long after retirement by bringing the joy of satisfaction in helping others, feeling fulfilled, making new friends, and keeping his or her mind active.

Long live our seniors!!

Anne Thompson


Give the poor a break on costs of trash collection

It’s amazing how much duct tape I have observed on the blue city bins used by homeowners for collection of recyclables. A new bin costs $10, as does a package of the 15- or 30-gallon bags.

A lot of people in low-income areas where I work have attempted to at least separate by different containers or bags – only to be denied pickup, with an official notice that all recycling must be in official bins, and all trash must be in official bags. Is this city so desperate for money that it forgets the poor?

Keith Lewis


Remember 18 soldiers lost in Somalia 20 years ago

Twenty years ago, on Oct. 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger lost 18 brave soldiers during combat operations in Mogadishu, Somalia. Please keep these men and their families in your thoughts and prayers today. Thanks.

Robert Cejka


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