Treat surprise medical bill legislation with care

I decided to become a dentist because I saw the power in helping people through not only advanced treatment, but through care and attention to detail. I have for many years dedicated myself and my practice to helping those who have serious dental care needs and seeing the resulting surgeries and repairs sometimes transform a life.

This has been both a rewarding and at times a blessing to me as I watch people who have ignored the problem or suffered with it get a new lease on life. Those in my practice also are proud of what they do for our patients, they care. I urge Congress to treat the surprise medical bill legislation as I do my patients — with care.

Over the past year, there have been many disputes about which surprise medical bill solution is the best — as there should be. But, if the surprise medical billing options are rushed into some year-end bill purely for the sake of “getting something done,” crucial voices will not be heard. This is not fair to patients, doctors, and nurses – and it isn’t fair for citizens, either. We expect Congress to look carefully at issues like this. As someone who has lived and worked in rural Maine, I am concerned about what these actions mean to local doctors and our hospitals.

Congress cannot rush this process and risk coming up with an inadequate solution — or one that makes things worse. At the end of the day we are all patients, so we should all care.

My thanks to our senator, Susan Collins, for her attention to this matter and the diligent way she seeks solutions. I am hopeful this is another situation where she can help find the right answer.

Dr. Robert Erickson


Yes on Question 1

It is reckless to trust the pharmaceutical industry with our public health via a mandated vaccine program that dictates we inject their products, or be denied an education.

What were lawmakers thinking as the death toll climbs and judges are awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in damages against the pharmaceutical companies for their role in perpetrating the nation’s devastating opioid crisis?

Overwhelming public outcry against this law was seemingly ignored. Does the pharmaceutical industry’s powerful lobby have a stranglehold on our lawmakers? Are they addicted to the contributions?

As this law stands, students will have to take every injection currently on the list of school immunization requirements. If they add controversial vaccines like the HPV vaccine to the list, you’ll have little choice but to take those injections too if you want to go to public school, private school, daycare, college or graduate school — even online.

This is a mandate with zero liability. The industry can develop more products as vaccines where the government has assumed liability for their damages. Taxpayers have paid billions of dollars in compensation to date.

This is stunning corporate overreach, and potential for abuse is huge. The citizens have to take matters into our own hands.

Vote yes on Question 1 on March 3.

John Eder


Bloomberg’s leadership on gun safety

As a public school teacher for 24 years, I know all too well the struggles of being a student, and the last thing any child or teacher should have to worry about is their lives. Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have refused to act on gun safety, endangering students across the country. Mike Bloomberg will take action where Washington has failed.

He’s not looking to take away your guns, or keep you from hunting — he’s proposing common sense gun safety laws to keep our children safe. His plan would keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals, institute universal background checks, and ban weapons of war.

He’s taken on the gun lobby as a mayor and a philanthropist—– and he’s won. Just this year, he took on the NRA in Virginia, and sent them packing.

I want to live in a country where we can turn on our TVs without being scared of what we will see, where our kids can go to school without fear, and where our teachers can teach. Bloomberg is a pragmatic leader who will implement common sense safety laws, and with him as president, our children will finally be in good hands.

Janice Cynewski


What matters in November

Joe Biden is widely regarded as a decent and personable man, and a centrist. The country needs to put in the rear view mirror the national crises caused by the current administration.

That’s really all that matters in November. Biden can help, and he belongs in the race.

Mary Kellogg


Donate blood to help fight cancer

Did you know that patients fighting cancer need more blood than patients fighting any other disease? Cancer patients use nearly one-quarter of the nation’s blood supply. In fact, five units of blood are needed every minute to help someone going through cancer treatment. Yet, only 3% of people in the U.S. give blood.

To help ensure patients have the strength and support to fight cancer, the American Red Cross and American Cancer Society are teaming up this February to encourage people to “Give Blood to Give Time.” Individuals are invited to honor their loved ones by making a blood donation appointment or financial contribution at

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. A loved one’s cancer diagnosis may leave families and friends feeling helpless. But when someone donates blood or platelets or makes a financial gift, they are helping to give patients and their families time, resources and the hope they need to fight back.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients, and more people are needed to donate blood regularly to help meet the need. On behalf of the Red Cross and American Cancer Society, I encourage you to give blood to give time in support of cancer patients and their families.

Neela Mukherjee Lockel

Interim Regional CEO

American Red Cross, Maine Region