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What Medicare has meant for me
I write this to thank Medicare for the fantastic job they are doing to help their members survive on reasonable costs even if they, like for me, have been very expensive. Doctors find the problem and suggest what to do, the patient approves and then comes the important step: Medicare reviews the case and approves the treatment.
In this case I needed a hernia operation. In the end, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center charged me a total of $23,369.83; Medicare approved and paid $4,705.41 and my private insurer Anthem paid $1,013.49. The Medicare process reduced my cost for this procedure by $17,650.93. My cancer related bills from the hospital have been much higher and this is mentioned as an example.
Medicare is very effective and reasonable, from my point of view as a participant in the process, and brings down the cost for care to reasonable levels. I have no way of knowing on what basis hospitals charge these exorbitant amounts to patients who are not insured or Medicare members. But I am grateful to Congress and its Democratic members who approved the system and make sure it remains, in spite of constant attacks from Republicans.
And finally, I am a great supporter of the idea to extend the Medicare model of covering health care to everybody in the U.S. That would overnight change the life for millions of Americans who would not have to worry about the cost of being sick. And total health care costs would drop dramatically.
Ban the CMP corridor
Do not allow Central Maine Power to keep us in the dark about Question 1. Despite the ads that depict Question 1 as affecting more than high impact transmission line projects, I’m confident it will not.
In my opinion, this transmission line project is not about going back in time to stop any other construction projects. It is about foreign companies using Maine as a conduit to feed Massachusetts for big profits. It is about big corporations using our public lands from Mainers without proper due process or law.
CMP’s damaging project, especially in the Upper Kennebec region, is owned by Iberdrola — a Spanish company with the rich Middle Eastern country of Qatar as one of its major stockholders. They and allies have spent more than $30 million trying to convince us that Maine will benefit from this horrible project.
Since Iberdrola took over CMP a decade ago, they initiated a massive reliability project. This cost ratepayers $1.5 billion. Since then CMP reliability went from the best in the region to the worst in the country. Do not let CMP keep Maine in the dark again. Vote yes to ban the CMP corridor.
Complete the corridor
I’m an electrical engineer, former deputy commissioner of the Vermont Public Service Board and later director of the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority. In the late 1970s, Vermont built and paid for 100-plus miles of power line corridor between Vermont and the Hydro-Quebec hydro power facility at James Bay in Canada.
The result has been years of lower electric rates in Vermont. As I recall there was little opposition to the project. The Vermont power line corridor has been and is now currently used for hiking, skiing, bicycling, motorcycling, off-road vehicle travel, game and bird watching, hunting, fishing, source of fire wood and forest fire remediation.
Maine must complete the New England Clean Energy Connect corridor. It will provide 50,000 to 70,000 homes worth of power in Maine plus much more to homes in southern New England. Maine can’t afford not to connect to the large existing Canadian hydro project, particularly given our current environmental move away from oil and gas and especially when nearly all of the construction money is coming from out of Maine.
I urge Mainers to vote no on the ballot to complete the project.
Richard de Grasse