Big health care news

For years now, America has famously had the highest health care costs among developed nations — yet has worse health care results.

Why? Because the middleman in our healthcare system has been the private insurance industry, which by almost any sensible measure has failed the American people.

The industry accepts massive taxpayer subsidies yet rations access to doctors and quality of care, won’t integrate medical records and billing systems to improve care and reduce fraud, and fails to produce competitive, low-cost medicines — while making billions in profits.

Here in Maine, fortunately, a new study by the Maine Center for Economic Policy has shown that we can finally cut out the middleman.

The study found that a universal, publicly funded healthcare plan covering every Maine resident could save $1.5 billion a year in total healthcare spending, eliminate insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and give 80 percent of us a net gain in household income.

Under the plan, federal programs such as Medicare would be retained, most employers would pay the same or less than they do now to cover employees, and hospitals and providers would remain private and be paid promptly and directly at Medicare rates.

The plan’s not perfect. And more work needs to be done. But still, it’s big news. It should be making a big splash. Let’s write to our legislators today and say, “Get on it!”

George Simonson

Harpswell

Renewable energy for Maine

The combinations of energy sources that Maine utilizes to become carbon neutral by 2040 are wind, solar and hydropower. These are the best resources because of their sustainability of renewable energy.

Maine has started to build wind turbines. Wind energy is a completely free renewable and sustainable resource. One wind turbine can power up to 1,500 homes in a year.

Solar is another one of the best energy sources. Solar energy is renewable, and is a logical energy source for Maine.

Hydropower is going to be an energy source that will help Maine by 2040. Hydropower is considered a renewable source because the water cycle is constantly renewed by the sun. Every state has hydropower potential.

In conclusion, three sources that will help Maine to become better are wind, solar, and hydropower. These three sources are sustainable, renewable energy for Maine. These three sources will be better for Maine by 2040. If we don’t fix our energy sources, Maine will change with the climate.

Robin Lopez Martinez

Portland

The Senate’s reputation

I am appalled at the comments and actions by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham indicating their clear predetermination of the outcome of an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. Many friends in Maine and in other parts of the country have expressed similar dismay regarding the handling of this matter by the U.S. Senate.

For me, this is far more than an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. It’s about the integrity of our governmental structure and the confidence that citizens can place in the institutions and processes established by the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Senate historically has been among the most venerable and prestigious bodies in our country.

The manner in which the Senate handles the upcoming impeachment trial will be truly historic, either to maintain its integrity or to critically damage its reputation and standing in the eyes of our citizens.

Looking back on the classes Sen. Susan Collins and I both took as government majors at St. Lawrence University, I fervently hope she will adhere to her strong sense of ethics to insist on a fair and deliberative process which holds each senator bound to the solemn oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.

Given the statements and actions of Senate leaders, I believe it is especially incumbent upon Collins and others in her party to demonstrate true political courage and leadership to insist on a process with integrity and that is beyond reproach.

Christopher G. Lockwood

Hallowell