Graham-Cassidy bad for seniors

After working behind closed doors yet again, Senate leadership was considering a vote last week on a new health care bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But it soon became clear the bill did not have the votes to pass and the bill was pulled, sparing older Americans from what could have been the worst health care proposal yet.

Research from the AARP Public Policy Institute demonstrated that the Graham-Cassidy bill would have increased costs and made coverage unaffordable for millions of older Americans. Like earlier proposals, this bill would have been a travesty for Maine.

Graham-Cassidy would have had a disproportionate impact on older Mainers purchasing coverage in the individual market. Under the bill, Americans between ages 50 and 64 could have been charged more than five times what other individuals pay for insurance — what is sometimes called an “age tax.” In addition to raising premiums, the bill also repealed tax credits and assistance for out-of-pocket costs that enabled Mainers to better afford their insurance and health care. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, costs for insurance coverage would have dramatically increased — an alarming trend for the nation’s oldest state.

Older Americans care deeply about access to and affordability of health care. They need and deserve affordable premiums, lower out-of-pocket costs, and coverage they can count on as they age. On behalf of our 230,000 members and their families in the state, we thank Sen. Susan Collins for once again standing strong for Maine and opposing this flawed legislation.

Lori K. Parham

Director

AARP Maine

Portland

Trump unfit for office

It’s getting more and more difficult to believe a reasonable argument can’t be made by the vice president and a majority of the cabinet that this president is incapable of executing the duties of his office responsibly. The 25th Amendment to the Constitution provides for his immediate removal.

This country has plenty of legitimate issues on its plate, things that badly need our attention. The reason he is screaming like a banshee about footballers disrespecting the flag he himself has offended over and over instead of addressing the needs of our citizens who are suffering the consequences of the last three hurricanes and the reason he has abandoned the former dignity of his office to engage in adolescent name-calling with another provocative head of state is because he is mentally unfit for the office.

Why that isn’t apparent to the otherwise intelligent people with whom he has surrounded himself and why we all — sensible Republicans like me, Democrats, everyone — aren’t all screaming for someone to stand up and act presidential is just baffling.

Phil Crossman

Vinalhaven

Health care profits

Michael Cianchette is wrong when he stated in his Sept. 23 BDN column that profits in the health care industry are spent to find the next discovery. Research and development expenses and all other expenses come before profit. Income less expenses yields profit.

With the profits the drug companies make after all their spending on R&D, it is hard to believe that government negotiating drug prices will put them out of business as Cianchette implies. I spent my career in purchasing. Negotiation is a basic business model. The largest buyer gets the best price.

Negotiating is not nationalization. The federal government negotiates or asks for bids from thousands of companies for the goods and services it needs. None of them are nationalized.

Michael Morris

Winterport

Trump disrespects Americans

David Treadwell’s Sept. 27 BDN OpEd, “Donald Trump — not kneeling NFL players — is the one who disrespects our flag,” really sparked my interest. As I read through his list of reasons as to why Trump disrespects our flag, I couldn’t think of anything with which to disagree, I could only add to his already long list.

Trump not only disrespects the majority of Americans who oppose him and all they represent but even those who voted for him. I, once a Trump voter and supporter, am more than embarrassed to admit I voted for Trump. As a conservative on a college campus, I am not exactly vocal with my opinions because of others being vocal on their objectifying opinions. Many college students are liberal, and the opinion of a conservative is about as meaningful as a grain of sand because of recent issues.

Treadwell’s comments at the end of his piece saying Trump should be worried about bigger issues in our country are correct. The reason I voted for Trump was because I thought he would be a powerhouse when it came to issues such as nuclear powers, our troops and budgeting. I thought he would use the businessman in him and put it to good use. I am proved very wrong.

I want to say thank you to Treadwell for showing me it’s OK to change my mind. And Trump is not the true American he loves to say he is.

Erika Everett

Topsham

Federal spending out of control

While we are still reeling from and trying to understand the scope of damage done by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the stock market is on a tear. Those whom it profits will say it is because the market is resilient. I say no. The market is anticipating a great deal of unbridled federal spending that does not have to be paid for — at least for now — coupled with a large tax cut.

Although I would like a reduction in my taxes along with new roads and bridges on which to drive, I don’t want them on the backs of my children and grandchildren. There is no question federal spending is completely out of control, with only lip service paid to the national debt.

Maine’s four congressional representatives appear to have no desire to address the out-of-control debt, though the two senators have the bully pulpit right now. The economy along with the Ponzi-scheme resembling stock market would collapse tomorrow if we had to pay for our spending with a balanced budget. The collapse will happen by itself soon enough, and not softly in my humble opinion.

But we can worry about that later. Pass that punch bowl this way will you.

Richard Ginn

Bucksport