Thank you to Sen. Susan Collins for announcing her opposition to the Senate health care bill, which will result millions of Americans losing health care — including children, the elderly and people living with disabilities.
The Senate bill would be devastating for people in Maine with lung disease, including asthma, lung cancer and chronic-obstructive pulmonary disorder. If the Senate bill becomes law, the number of uninsured in Maine could go up by 74 percent. The Senate bill also would devastate Medicaid, which is a vital safety net for Mainers. More than 15,000 Mainers who get their health coverage through Medicaid would likely lose their care.
Through proposed cuts to Medicaid, Maine also stands to lose almost $1.4 billion in federal funding. The loss of this funding will put significant fiscal pressure on the Maine budget, jeopardizing our ability to fund basic state needs, including health care, education and making sure we can maintain our roads and bridges. Without these federal dollars, Maine would likely be forced to cut services and jobs or raise taxes.
The American Lung Association stands ready to work with Collins on a new bill to improve current law, and urges her to stand strong against the Senate bill so that a bipartisan agreement can be reached that puts the needs of millions of patients first.
Executive vice president
American Lung Association of the Northeast
Turmoil in Howland
I live in the town of Howland, and our town government has been through more than its share of turmoil and confusion. We have gone through many town managers, and it has been like musical chairs.
Now, I’m not sure if it was the town managers who were at fault, though I’m sure they can take credit for some of it. But our town selectmen can surely take credit for their fair share, too.
The town has lost the foreman of the town maintenance crew, the person in charge of ambulance service and our guy who took care of both the Water Department and Sewer Department.
I am concerned about how our town government is being run and how it is not for personal interest and not for the people of the town of Howland.
I have a few suggestions: term limits on the board of selectmen, an oversight committee of citizens separate from the select board to address problems like those above, full exposure of the reasons town employees are hired and fired (it is our money, and we had one town manager who left and we never truly found out why), and hire qualified people for the job openings, not someone’s buddy or family.
We live in a property tax town, almost no businesses, with a large percentage of retired people. Our town is like almost every town in Maine just trying to get by. That is my concern. Again, nothing personal.
Maine needs better than LePage
Kudos to House Speaker Sara Gideon and Senate President Mike Thibodeau for reaching a compromise on our state budget in spite of the juvenile antics of our governor.
The good news is that in less than two years, we will return to the polls to elect a new governor. This will be our chance to elect a real leader who reflects the strong values of the people of Maine.
For the past six-and-a-half years, Gov. Paul LePage has failed our state. His bullying style, inability to listen to the people of Maine and his my-way-or-the-highway approach to the legislative process have proven to be ineffective. Even when the majority of Maine people have voted to enact legislation so desperately needed, he has rejected our votes.
Maine is a diverse state in many ways, and we need a governor who understands and represents all interests and needs. Now is the time to raise the bar and to set realistic expectations for a new governor. Let’s not make the same mistake we’ve made in the past two elections. Instead, let’s find a governor who represents our values, our needs and our strong passion for the great state we call home. We can do better.