Health care costs have become unreasonable. Insurance companies have raised premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, while lowering the quality of coverage year after year. Almost everyone would agree that this can’t go on. Also, almost everyone would agree that health care reform must immediately address affordability, accessibility and quality.

Yet, according to disclosure reports, the insurance companies have spent millions on lobbying to oppose reform. Instead of working to extend coverage to the uninsured, lower costs and increase the quality of the policies they offer, big insurance has fought ruthlessly to protect the status quo and its ever-growing profits.

Democrats have reached out across the aisle and invited Republicans to have a hand in reform. Republicans have contributed 170 amendments to the bill, including many suggested by Sen. Olympia Snowe.

Sens. Snowe and Susan Collins must not abandon the people now. We need an end to discrimination in coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. We need caps on out-of-pocket co-pays and deductibles. We need the federal assistance that will help working-class families pay for insurance. We need the tax breaks for small businesses to help cover their workers and remain competitive.

Snowe and Collins need to stand up for health care reform, now more than ever.

Diane Poirier, Lewiston

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