Stop playing politics with health

I am a home care worker in the Bangor area, and I get my insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. For decades, home care workers have been largely unable to get the quality health care they dispense to others.

I was 17 when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. With the Affordable Care Act, I am able to work in this vital field taking care of our aging state and ensuring my own health as well.

In a time when so many millennials like me are leaving the state, the Affordable Care Act has given us the chance to establish secure lives in Maine, growing our economy and doing the vital work of moving Maine forward.

Sen. Susan Collins voted to adopt a budget plan that would undo that historic and consequential piece of legislation that has brought health care to 20 million people, lowered the cost of drugs for seniors, ended gender discrimination in health insurance and saved the lives of countless people in just a few years.

The reason Republicans are rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even without a replacement plan, is because they know that every day another person gets health care, receives a diagnosis or accesses a service they otherwise would be denied, public opinion becomes just a little more supportive of the act.

Collins needs to stop playing politics with our lives and ensure there is no repeal without an adequate replacement.

Zachary Arey


No peace without forgiveness

The objection to allowing Japanese tourists to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and other sites of massive battles in the Pacific areas during World War II is understandable from the point of view Carroll B. Knox expressed in a Jan. 12 BDN letter to the editor. Wounds heal, but memories linger.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the USS Arizona in December may have been an act of remorse and an apology for that bombing and other wartime actions of so long ago. Other Japanese people living now may wish to express feelings of sorrow and remorse and to apologize for actions of their predecessors by making reverent visits to those sites. Such actions are done within this country by descendants of southerners who visit Gettysburg and other sites of horrendous battles from the Civil War in which they lost.

The act of the respect and sorrow made by our president and the Japanese prime minister is a public display of sadness, sorrow and remorse, as well as an apology by the prime minister. He should not be castigated because of what his ancestors did, which neither he nor our president could have had control over.

If there is to be a world in which peace reigns, people on both sides must accept acts of remorse by those on the other side. Barring people from paying their respects at hallowed sites is not a way toward that goal nor will it pull people together. The anger must give way to allow healing. Respect and acceptance must be within the remaining veterans and the descendants of the adversaries.

V. Dana Allison

Castle Hill

Dressing room talk

I remember during the debates and the last few months of the campaign how the Democrats and others were so worried that Donald Trump was not going to accept losing the election.

I also remember the list of Hollywood’s best who were going to leave the country if Trump won — no one has left. It must have been just dressing room talk or maybe a botched joke.

Mack Leo


Don’t throw seniors down doughnut hole

I am appalled that between 20 million and 30 million people could lose the medical coverage they need to live safely. My husband, daughter and I are fairly OK because my husband and I are on Medicare, and with the AARP coverage we have we don’t, at the moment, have much to worry about. But if the “ doughnut hole” is opened, the annual costs for our prescriptions will increase by $3,000 each. We are both on Social Security, and my husband has a good pension from work, but many others in this country aren’t as lucky.

My daughter is on disability because of a serious diagnosis of MRSA 10 years ago. She gets a monthly disability check and, like us, has Medicare along with MaineCare. She would be affected by the “doughnut hole” opening as well because it also would increase the cost of her prescriptions. If the proposed Medicaid block granting passes, this could seriously compromise the kind of medical care for which she would qualify.

There may be some parts of the Affordable Care Act that need to be adjusted or replaced, but gutting the entire law without anything to replace it will leave millions of people in a great deal of need and with a lack of medical coverage.

I hope Congress and our newly elected president will rethink what they are proposing and remember why they are in office and work to help the people in their districts for the right reasons, not the political reasons.

Glenis Elliott

West Bath

A blow to the paper industry

I hate to say this, but the disbanding of the Maine Pulp and Paper Association was only a matter of time. Automation, high operating costs, decreased demand and international competition continue to strike harsh blows against the industry. Nuclear, hydro and wind energy projects have been voted down or decommissioned. Expansion of transportation infrastructure is gridlocked. Taxes remain high. The paper industry as we knew it in the 1980s is gone.

We can only hope this event is a reminder to the remaining industry players and especially to Maine’s voters that the same old thing is not enough to revive the industry. We need innovation but mostly a willingness to accept and push for solutions that are outside the norm. Most importantly, we desperately need acceptance that, if the good old days are to return, they will look substantially different than before — and that’s OK.

Anna Hayden


Collins wrong on Sessions

It is interesting that Sen. Susan Collins, who previously had a history of opposition to the policies of now President-elect Donald Trump, in a complete “about-face,” is endorsing Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general of the U.S. Sessions has a proven track record of racially biased, anti-civil rights, anti-immigration policy leanings.

How can such a person as Sessions apply “justice for all”?

Alan Hernried