Obamacare repeal will hurt my family

My family is one of those that will be hurt if Sen. Susan Collins votes against saving the Affordable Care Act. After working for the same environmental nonprofit for almost five years, my company was forced to let me go, due to financial constraints. This is hard news for our young family — I have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, both of whom were on my health insurance through my employer.

My son was born two months prematurely, so we know firsthand how good insurance is important, and we were lucky to have good coverage for the six-figure hospital bills. He was born during a fast-moving and unexpected preterm labor and spent five weeks in the NICU and CCN at Maine Medical Center in Portland. We had expensive follow-up appointments, and he was readmitted for pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Without good insurance, that emergency room bill could have made us hesitate to bring our 2-month-old to the hospital for critical care.

Now, with me out of work, my family has enrolled in insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace with my husband. Without it and our subsidy, we wouldn’t be able to afford to keep us insured while I am trying to find a new job. That thought is terrifying to me, and I don’t want to have to choose between my children’s safety and extremely high health care costs. Collins needs to protect Mainers like us and defend the Affordable Care Act.

Emily Connelly


Maine forfeits funds for nutrition

I can’t stop shaking my head after reading the Jan. 11 BDN article about Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew’s intransigence related to the WIC transition to EBT cards from a paper-based system.

This administration has been spouting phony outrage for years over the money they claim has been lost to fraud, yet they’ve just forfeited $1.4 million for this nutrition program for women, infants and young children by their refusal to make the transition unless the federal government approves a photo ID requirement for the EBT cards. These cards are intended to make it easier for low-income pregnant women and their infants and young children to receive critical supplemental nutrition when they need it most.

WIC is paid for in total, including its administration, by the federal government. Data shows that women who participate in WIC have healthier deliveries and give birth to healthier babies. They cost the health care system less. The benefit amounts to around $40 a month, and it is limited to certain foods and nutrition education.

These children are our future. What is Mayhew gaining by her rigidity? Why is she willing to jeopardize the future of this benefit? What kind of a person knowingly deprives pregnant women and their infants and young children of basic nutritional support? How in the world does this help Maine?

Maryann Larson


GOP fails the Golden Rule test

Actions speak louder than words. Treating our neighbors as we would like to be treated is the Golden Rule that Christians and decent folks worldwide strive to emulate in their daily lives. This rule supports the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness Americans proudly model to the world.

Why then do the Republicans, who often act counter to the Golden Rule, profess to be such a strong Christian party? Why do Republicans who are professing to be Christians keep voting for candidates that clearly do not behave as Christians?

For example, our governor and his director of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services have continued for six years to put into place policies that have killed the spirits if not caused the physical deaths of Mainers by refusing Medicaid expansion and now have forfeited $1.4 million in federal funds for WIC, a nutrition program for women, infants and young children.

Now Republicans appear ready to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. If our Republican leaders truly are Christians held accountable by Republican Christian voters, the Golden Rule would require them to make sure all have insurance. These hurtful actions keep Mainers sick and dying without insurance and families without nutritious food.

Tim Rogers


Keep ranked-choice voting

Maine voters made the decision in November to pass ranked-choice voting, a change that is now being challenged by the Maine Senate.

The Senate is asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to determine whether the election reform is constitutional in order to delay implementation.

The voters have spoken and should be respected. On Election Day, a majority — nearly 400,000 Republicans, Democrats, independents, Greens, and Libertarians — voted to adopt ranked-choice voting for legislative, gubernatorial and congressional elections starting in 2018.

Supporters should contact their state senators to make sure that the vote is not overturned.

Lynne Horst


Maine counting on Collins

In my observation of Sen. Susan Collins’ voting record over the years, she struck me as a rubber stamp for former President George W. Bush, yet she was, thankfully, more bipartisan during the Obama administration than I ever expected. Although Collins was unwilling to endorse Donald Trump during the election, her vote in support of a budget plan that paves the way for repealing the Affordable Care Act makes me wonder whether she will once again become a rubber stamp for the incoming Republican president.

With nearly 20 million more Americans who were once without health insurance now covered and the Medicaid “ donut hole” filled to stabilize drug costs for seniors, the move to repeal the Affordable Care Act is bad for Maine. Getting rid of it will increase the cost of prescriptions for Medicare recipients.

Mainers who are insured thanks to the Affordable Care Act are concerned, if not fearful, about where their health care will come from if it is repealed and no replacement is in place.

Many Mainers are counting on Collins to stand up for Maine and for her to not become a rubber stamp for Trump’s policies.

Jane Smith