Obamacare repeal would hurt least fortunate

I have worked in rural Maine for more than three decades as a primary care physician and have strong beliefs about how we finance our health care. I believe we all deserve good care, regardless of our financial conditions.

The Affordable Care Act enabled more than 20 million uninsured people to get health insurance. These are people who are no longer threatened by bankruptcy the next time they get sick. The key provision that makes this coverage possible is the federal subsidy, which provides the tax dollars used to help pay the insurance costs. Any replacement for the Affordable Care Act will very likely reduce or eliminate the subsidy, pass the costs onto the states or onto individuals.

Big tax cuts sound good, but we will then not have enough money left for our health care and other basic needs like education, Social Security and Medicare. Some argue we can reduce expenses by privatizing these programs or by transferring more financial responsibility to the states

It’s true the federal government would be paying less, but each of us would be paying more to make up the shortfall. The wealthy can afford the extra personal costs, and they would likely come out ahead because of their reduced tax rates. Those in the lower income brackets though would get hit with increased costs that will far outweigh any tax savings. Poorer states such as Maine are least able to afford the additional expenses.

We cannot have big tax cuts without hurting the least fortunate among us, and that is not what America stands for.

Philip Elkin


Restore compromise

Our Founding Fathers designed a constitution absolutely dependent upon compromise. Without it, we will have ongoing constitutional crises, such as we have in the United States today. We must reinstate the wisdom of compromise into government deliberations, adhere unerringly to the separation of powers in our government and conclude that American politics must be removed from the deliberations of the Supreme Court.

Our founders believed that lawmakers, the executive and the courts needed to have clearly defined and separate spheres of influence.

The extreme right-wing with its obsessions on sexual preference, right-to-life issues and its unmitigated arrogance with respect to getting into other folks’ bedrooms, whether it be with birth control, gender preference or between a woman and her doctor with right-to-life versus right-to-choose issues, have nearly destroyed our republic. Absolutely nothing is more important to them than imposing their worldview on everyone else.

If these folk do not believe in abortion as a medical option, fine. It’s none of my business. Why would I have the audacity to attempt to force my views on them? Conversely, they have no right whatsoever to try to impose their religious interpretations on me. I have a very different worldview, with starkly different cosmic interpretations of reality.

The complexity of our enormously diverse society demands that simple-minded, obsessive adherence to ideological convictions cannot and must not try to hold sway for if one tries to force such worldviews on others, resulting in internecine social chaos and a Constitution in crisis.

J. Brian Smith


Collins opposition to DeVos hollow

Sen. Susan Collins has been dishonest with her constituents about Betsy DeVos. After hearing from thousands of outraged Maine residents, Collins rightly announced she would vote against DeVos for secretary of education. Yes, DeVos is unqualified and inexperienced for the post. But Collins wants us to think she’s taking a principled stand against the nomination. She isn’t.

In reality, Collins is an experienced politician, and she must know full well that her vote against DeVos won’t be enough to block her confirmation. If she had really cared, she would have voted in committee to stop the DeVos nomination from going forward to the Senate floor for a vote. She didn’t — twice.

So Collins claims a halo for listening to overwhelming numbers of her constituents who oppose the nomination, but she’s really just taking a symbolic stand that does nothing to stop DeVos. She’s going along with her party’s lurch to the right and support for President Donald Trump. Other senators are willing to let DeVos take office, but at least they’re being open about their support for her.

Collins wants it both way: a reputation for principle without actually having to act effectively on principle. In this case her centrism is a pose, and she is not being honest with Maine citizens.

Chris Marshall


The gift of life

Congratulations are due the speakers and marchers in Washington, D.C., for their profoundly classy right-to-life demonstrations on Jan. 27.

Isn’t it ironic that those women, who desperately support and promote so-called women’s rights, refuse to defend every woman’s most precious right — that of life — evidenced by the many millions of aborted women since Roe v. Wade?

Isn’t it also ironic that women (and men) whose mothers wanted and allowed them to have the gift of life are now the ones to oppose that most precious gift for every unborn human being?

Joe Bertolaccini


Protect Maine’s environment

I am concerned and fearful for the future after our country’s recent election. My concern is for the financial strength and environment of Maine. We have lost many of our industrial jobs to technology and lower wages abroad. The large corporations must shoulder much of the blame for this as they exchange American jobs for higher profits.

Maine is a unique place with clean air and water, dark skies and huge forests. It is a state of beautiful beaches, lakes and streams. Perhaps we have lost jobs, but we haven’t lost our magnificent natural resources yet.

Tourism is our major industry bringing millions of dollars to the state annually. We desperately need vacationers to come visit. Should we not now focus on our strengths to provide new jobs and a peaceful, beautiful and unique place to visit for generations to come?

I implore Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree and Gov. Paul LePage to please support funding to save our natural resources in Maine and across the country.

Pamela LaJeunesse