Health care debate should consider plight of vets

To the editor:

In response to Fred Bilello's Thursday letter, I'd like to add several points concerning the federal health insurance mandate.

First of all, who said doctors are going to add more patients? Second, with all of these new patients who have suddenly gained access to "affordable health care," what will the waiting time be to see one of these doctors?

To give you a glimpse of what you could and should expect, this is what disabled veterans are experiencing now:

In 2005, a veteran could easily be seen by a doctor in a day or so, sometimes even the same day. With the onslaught of casualties arriving from both Iraq and Afghanistan, everything has changed.

Now, there is almost no chance of being seen the same day or even remotely in the near future. The VA has a same-day appointment list, however, the only way to get the appointment is to call and be put on hold for upward of 30 minutes, only to be told there are no appointments available that day.

And it goes on the same way, day after day.

To get an appointment to see your primary care doctor at the VA takes three months and beyond. That is standard.

A new clinic opened up in northwest Las Vegas recently. I went to see if I could transfer my records to that clinic due to its proximity to home. I was told there are 700 people on the waiting list.

I was also told the VA is hiring seven new doctors. Given the numbers, how are seven doctors going to help the current situation?

My only option, as is probably the case with most veterans, is to go to the emergency room at Mike O'Callaghan Hospital, just like the indigent and uninsured usually do when they have health issues.

This new federal health insurance mandate is going to surprise the do-gooders when their once pretty-good health care isn't good at all anymore. The best you can hope for is that your doctor does not take on any more clients, thus leaving all those whom the law intends to help still without access to health care.

I will say this, though. The medical professionals at the VA clinics do the very best they can, trying to give everyone the best they can.

But the system is overwhelmed with patients, and there aren't enough medical professionals due to cost restraints.

It doesn't look like it will get any brighter in the near future.

Rick Clawson

North Las Vegas

Private property

To the editor:

Regarding the Strip safety issue (Wednesday Review-Journal):

Why doesn't the county sell the sidewalks and curbs to the hotels, thus making them private property? The hotels would be responsible for care and maintenance, saving the county money and possibly generating property tax money.

George Urias

Las Vegas

Secret plan

To the editor:

According to Thursday's Business section, the price of a barrel of oil stood at $101. This is down from $109 two weeks ago.

How come we are not seeing the relief? I believe that it is the direct result of the secret national energy policy that the Bush administration wrote with the CEOs of the major oil companies in 2002.

They can now point fingers and blame the current administration for the record-high pump prices.

Dale Wood