Repealing Obamacare will hurt rural Maine

As the date for voting on whether the Affordable Care Act should be repealed approaches, I am compelled to write by the means of protecting the health and safety of those living not only in Maine, but within my community.

I come from a small, rural, and relatively impoverished area of this state. We are loggers, fishermen and hunters. We work hard for the things we need in this community in order to keep our families fed, clothed and sheltered, and that is ensured when we have the health care coverage to do so.

By repealing the Affordable Care Act, Congress also will deny the ability for families, such as the ones I have come to know and love, to protect themselves against the high cost of medical expenses that no one from a working middle class could ever afford out of pocket.

I urge our representatives to please consider that the president in his farewell address asked us to walk in the shoes of those who live differently than us at this moment. I work in a restaurant when I am not studying at the University of Maine in Orono, and I am going to need health insurance by the time that I graduate. Repealing the Affordable Care Act is not a step in the right direction, especially for those of us who are still trying to get by.

Olivia Ruhlin

Cornish

Improve Maine test scores

The Jan. 9 BDN editorial about improving Maine’s education system was spot on. It highlights a very serious problem: subpar student achievement in grades K-12, particularly subpar achievement by students from low-income families. Right now, there is a great opportunity to do something about this problem with the infusion of funding from the passage of Question 2.

The distribution of the new money should be based on a local student poverty index, and it should be targeted initially to early childhood education. School superintendents should be held accountable for student performance, and fourth-grade student test results less than the state average should result in reduced state funding for school administrative costs.

It is time to move the needle on student achievement and to strive for results of which all Mainers can be proud. The well-being of our communities depends on it.

Stephen Freeman

Presque Isle

Tillerson no climate advocate

In my experience, a January thaw meant the temperatures crept barely above freezing for a few days, maybe once or twice a winter. Now, we have a series of warm spells, with temperatures often up in the 40s, and research shows the trend will continue. Let’s be clear, this is not a January thaw, this is climate change.

We might have prevented this situation long ago by adopting a plan such as the carbon fee and dividend proposed by the Citizens Climate Lobby. Why didn’t we? Let’s ask Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil and President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state.

Documents have revealed that Exxon Mobil knew about human induced climate change as far back as 1977. It not only kept that information secret, but embarked on a decades-long campaign to deny climate change. Exxon Mobil is currently being investigated for its role in misleading the public.

It appears that Tillerson has had little or no concern for the health and safety of our citizens and the environment on which we depend during his years at the helm of Exxon Mobil. Despite Tillerson’s claims to support a revenue neutral carbon fee, he has stated he will not advocate for one if he is secretary of state. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should oppose Tillerson’s nomination. We could hardly find a worse person to confront climate change on our behalf.

Karen Marysdaughter

Bangor

Cancer patients need Obamacare

Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. That means that 40 percent of the population could die from this life-threatening disease. The Affordable Care Act ensures that everyone gets the necessary access to health care and preventive measures, such as pre-screenings for cancer, so that they can have a fighting chance.

I am one of those individuals whose life could be saved by those pre-screenings. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a month before her 35th birthday. Our family has lost a number of women to this terrible disease, and without the Affordable Care Act, I could become one of those women.

We all know and love someone affected by cancer. Please contact Sen. Susan Collins and urge her to protect the Affordable Care Act. It could save a life.

Tabitha Caron

Bangor

Obamacare can be fixed

I’m disheartened by Sen. Susan Collins’ middle-of-the-night sneak attack against the Affordable Care Act. I have been an independent contractor for many years, and I am now a small-business owner. Before the Affordable Care Act, I did not have health insurance.

I, like many others, skated along hoping for no major health issues and putting off regular exams. I often was not able to get medication refills until I could afford the office visit. While I was fortunate to avoid major illness, my credit still has dents in it from medical debt.

While the health care plan I can “afford” as a result of the Affordable Care Act is not great, it has made a big difference for me in terms of being able to take more preventative care steps and miss less medication. In turn, I miss fewer work days, boost my income, and hopefully, that of the local economy. Many of my small-business owner friends are in the same boat. Some of them have chronic illness that, without proper medical care, would leave them unable to work and cause them to, in turn, become a burden on the system.

Many Mainers support the Affordable Care Act. I feel like our representatives are misrepresenting their constituency by supporting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Instead, they should be rolling up their sleeves and getting to work fixing what needs to be fixed. At minimum, they need to start working to create an alternative to the Affordable Care Act before they repeal something that is helping millions of Americans.

Tricia Griffith

Orono