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Voting for our health

There is nothing more important than a person’s health, which is why the fight for equitable, affordable, and quality health care has been going on for years. Although we have made progress over the last decade by establishing basic health care protections, access to good health care is still out of reach for too many Mainers.

A recent report by West Health Institute and Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care found that roughly 66,000 Maine families have lost insurance coverage due to the economic shutdown brought on by the pandemic. Furthermore, the study shows that nearly 200,000 Maine families did not seek treatment for a health problem in the last year due to the cost of care. These data are heartbreaking – and unacceptable.

Many Mainers who have lost insurance can access coverage through MaineCare or the ACA Marketplace. Still, the United States is at a pivotal moment: will we make great strides increasing health care access and affordability or go backward to dark days when people were discriminated against just for being sick? The direction we go will depend upon who we elect.

I urge all Mainers to take a hard look at everyone running for office and ask: Does this person have a health care plan that takes us forward? Or does this person’s plan set us back? Does this person even have a health care plan?

And if people haven’t already voted, they shouldn’t forget to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3! Their access to health care may depend upon it.

Julia M. Underwood

Associate director

Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care

Augusta

A sad chapter for democracy

Has this country gone crazy? I have lived for 75 years, through a lot of ups and downs in American history, but never have I lost faith that no matter how bad things got we would be okay. No longer.

We have sunk to the absolute lowest level of human behavior. This political campaign has been nothing but a huge playground fight, not just nationally, but locally. The campaign ads, even in our local elections, are nothing but attacks on one another. There is no attempt to convince voters of the merits of any of the candidates — only to insult, degrade, and humiliate one another.

I have always voted Democratic, and I will do so this time because I believe in the Democratic Party ideals. However, that’s not to say I have any other evidence to believe one candidate is any better than another. It’s been a sad chapter in the history of democracy when tearing down the opponent is the only way to secure votes.

Cheri Walton

Eastport

Courage and thoughtfulness from Collins

Mainers have always appreciated courage and thoughtful leadership when it comes to shaping public policy that impacts our citizens. I would like to add my voice to those supporting Sen. Susan Collins because I have witnessed first-hand the way she does the right thing, even when nobody is paying attention, and she never gives up even when the challenges seem insurmountable. She perseveres when it is the right thing to do for Maine.

For decades, highway safety in Maine was disadvantaged due to a federal rule that forced commercial trucks off the interstate system and onto Maine’s secondary roads. Collins identified this issue, listened to her constituents and then used her seniority and bipartisan approach to fix the problem for the safety of Maine motorists.

Ten years later, this seems to be exactly how government should work. We elect a leader like Collins, she identifies a problem that impacts her home state and she works with other elected officials from both political parties to produce a common-sense result. However, this high-level summary doesn’t detail the tremendous work that she had to do before fixing the problem. She had to build bipartisan consensus, which couldn’t have been accomplished without first having built an independent reputation and voting record, which comes with time, experience and character.

Maine is better due to Collins’ leadership, her bipartisan independence and her seniority. And we should thank her for her continued work to improve highway safety.

Brian Parke

Maine Motor Transport Association

Brunswick

Golden walks the walk

What impresses me most about Rep. Jared Golden is that he thinks for himself and focuses on what is best for Mainers. When he saw that the revised NAFTA free trade deal with Mexico and Canada did not include adequate protections for Maine jobs, he voted against it. Because he sees how big money is undermining our political system, he has called for campaign finance reform. And in the meantime, he walks the walk and refuses to accept money from corporate PACs.

Whether it’s veterans’ affairs or health care or building a stronger economy for Mainers, Golden knows that complex problems require thoughtful solutions. He has been this way as long as I have known him. I taught him when he was a student at Bates College. His senior research project, which I advised, explored complicated questions about the reasons why countries go to war. Because he is a veteran, he had an obvious personal stake in the question, but he was still careful in his research and measured in his conclusions.

Golden does not make knee-jerk responses, even when he is considering hard questions that matter to him personally. In a district where opinions vary so widely, we need a representative who speaks for all of us. Golden does that, and he’s been thinking this way for years. I am proud to say I’ve worked with him. I’m even prouder to say I’ll vote for him.

Joseph Hall

Auburn

Rewards and responsibility

Donald Trump, as our president, has deceived the American people, denied science, spread false cures, mocked preventive measures, and started a COVID-19 nationwide resistance movement.

But then he got the most advanced, aggressive treatment and care of any American in the country. Treatments and care that many other citizens of this country haven’t had access to.

I wonder if he will appreciate what the American taxpayers have provided for him? Especially since we recently learned he has reportedly paid almost no income taxes for many years due to his enormous business losses, his lavish tax deductible lifestyle and his creative bookkeeping.

He’s been reaping all the benefits of American citizenship without any of the responsibilities, until now.

Steven Roth

Swans Island

Election notice

The BDN is no longer accepting letters and commentary related to the Nov. 3 election. Not all submissions can be published.