I am writing in appreciation of Nancy Smith, state representative for the towns of Wales, Litchfield and Monmouth, for her work with the ongoing struggle to keep as many Mainers covered with health insurance as possible.

In these difficult financial times for individuals and local and state governments, I thank Rep. Smith and others for keeping a very complex structure going – Dirigo Health – which focuses on access, quality and cost of health care, and her fine work with Dirigo Choice, the insurance product of the Dirigo Health Program.

I appreciate her efforts in keeping that program funded, despite the rising costs of providing health care to an aging population and a portion of the population that is not taking care of itself with the consumption of sugary drinks and high calorie foods and no real exercise. It is their right to indulge, but there is a cost to all of us. And that includes everyone with insurance or not, or rich or poor. It all boils down to an increase in the cost of living for everyone. A healthy population is less expensive to insure.

I appreciate Smith’s hard work on LD 2247, which includes insurance market reforms to encourage insurance companies to invest in the state of Maine. Dirigo, which was the fastest-growing insurance product in the state, can reopen enrollment this year with this new funding source.

Mark W. Andrews, Wales

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