Credit: George Danby / BDN

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Help ensure a comfortable retirement

One of the lessons that you learn as you get older is that while the Social Security retirement check is a solid base to meeting your monthly cost of living in retirement, it is far from sufficient in meeting all the costs of living while retired. Working households in Maine have an average of $2,500 saved for retirement expenses. Over 200,000 working Mainers do not have access to a retirement saving plan through their employer. Workers are 15 times more likely to participate in a retirement savings plan if they can do so through their employer.

LD 1622, if enacted, will bring the opportunity to participate in a savings plan to Maine workers. The plan that they could choose to participate in has been adopted by several other states across the country. AARP is supporting this legislation because an economic cushion can go a long way towards making life in retirement a much more pleasant experience. Saving a little bit every paycheck over a lifetime of work is the easiest way to ensure a comfortable retirement.

George Burgoyne

Bangor

Police officers are only human

With all the negative publicity the media is currently engaging in against the police forces of this country, it is totally puzzling that any sincere person would even remotely consider a career as a police officer. As in any job, there are bad apples and they must be culled, but the media seems more focused on destroying them all to get the few.

Police officers, whether on the job or off, are under the watchful eye of Joe and Jane Public who I think, for the most part, are waiting for the officers to make a mistake or a misjudgment so they can make an example of them. The “rotten apples” must be made to atone for their abuses.

The use of force when trying to control an individual who is committing a crime may be necessary, especially when the individual is much larger than the officer. Of course the force must cease when the offender stops resisting. In the much publicized incident where the offender eventually died, the officer probably should have ceased the use of force sooner. I think the media has chosen to use this incident to condemn all police officers and turn the offender into a national hero.

The officer must respond and act to any and all issues, hopefully in such a manner to control the issue. If the officer chose not to control the issue, the media and the public would hang him or her out to dry!

When police officers go to work, they put their lives on the line for all of us. Most of them even go the extra mile so that we the people can go out and about safely. We must realize that they are also only human.

Timothy Smyth

Millinocket

Pass Maine health care package

I’ve been a family practitioner in Maine for 39 years. Over that time, advancements in medicine have allowed me to offer a lifeline to patients who years ago would have had few treatment options. But none of those treatments work for patients who can’t afford them.

Take the newest diabetes medicines. These are literally life savers. These two classes of drugs prevent kidney and heart failure so well they have been recruited into mainstream heart and kidney care. Yet, at $500-700 per month, most of my patients cannot afford them and some will suffer the consequences of denied treatment.

On the other hand, let’s admire our response to COVID-19. Testing, treatments and immunizations are covered by the government. The pandemic has been a long nightmare but at least people are not being denied care because of the ability to pay.

The Maine Legislature is considering a slate of bills called the Making Health Care Work for Maine package that would help many of my patients finally afford the treatments they need. This package includes bills that would lower prescription drug costs by prohibiting price-gouging on generic drugs or raising drug prices without a clinical explanation. Another bill would look at the entire healthcare system in Maine and find ways to bring down costs for Mainers.

Together, these bills will save lives here in Maine. Plain and simple. I urge our lawmakers to stand up for patients and pass this package.

Stephen Bien

Jay