Health merger not necessarily a good idea

To the editor:

In response to the Nov. 14 letter from George McCabe, who works for a public relations firm under contract with UnitedHealth Group:

In regard to the potential merger between UnitedHealth and Sierra Health Services, Mr. McCabe states that the two companies currently account for only 28 percent of all commercial health insurance sold in Nevada. After the merger, the companies would only have abut 35 percent of the Southern Nevada market and less than 12 percent of the Northern Nevada market, he notes. That may be true, but:

— Did he count the contracts covering the school districts, our retired military under Tri-care, the city employees, the retired public employees under Part B plans, senior citizens under Medicare and people under Medicaid? There are actually four to six companies that UnitedHealth is trying to buy out — Sierra Health, Senior Dimensions, Nevada Tri-care, Sierra Choice, all divisions of Sierra Health.

I feel that the U.S. attorney’s office should do a complete audit of both UnitedHealth Group and Sierra Health Services to see if the percentage would be 97 percent of 28 percent. There should also be a guarantee by both companies that the level of services will be maintained and the price on all premiums for the insurance shall not rise faster than the federal cost-of-living adjustments for the next seven years.

LARY E. MARKS

NORTH LAS VEGAS

Money grab

To the editor:

You would think that Nevada being the fourth-highest taxed state, our elected officials would live within their budgets, like most families do, rather than tax the people into oblivion.

But all you hear now is “raise taxes” — from the schools, Democrats in the Legislature, the City Council, Mayor Oscar Goodman, the County Commission, the resident curmudgeon Jim Rogers, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, all of the unions and the hotel-casinos (to take the heat off themselves).

Sounds to me as if the only people looking out for us, the taxpayers, are Gov. Jim Gibbons and state Sen. Bob Beers. I guess all the others want us to be the first-highest taxed state.

DAN CULBERT

LAS VEGAS

Home means Nevada

To the editor:

I’m extremely opposed to changing Nevada’s state song (Sherman Frederick column, Nov. 11). I’m a Las Vegas native and the daughter of a Las Vegas native, Dean LaMar Allen. He was born out of the Kiel Ranch here in Las Vegas in 1927. His father came to Las Vegas in 1923. There is an elementary school named for my father here in Las Vegas.

My father sang “Home Means Nevada” to me my whole childhood. He learned the song while he was attending Fifth Street Grammar School here in Las Vegas. My father would take my siblings and me all over the valley on hiking and exploring expeditions. We all sang the song as we explored Red Rock, the Lake Mead area, Mount Charleston and the surrounding desert of Las Vegas. (I know every word and note, because we sang it so much.)

The mountains, brush, washes, cactus, animals, rock, and yes, silvery rills, are Nevada. And they mean a great deal to me, as does the song, “Home Means Nevada.” The song meant so much to my father that it was sung as his school opening ceremony. He also asked that the song be sung at his funeral. And, of course, his request was honored. The Allen Elementary School Choir sang “Home Means Nevada” at my father’s funeral.

The song “Home Means Nevada” is the heart and soul of Nevada natives. In fact, to me, Nevada and the state song are one in the same. And I sincerely hope the two are never divided. To date, the song has been sung in several generations of my family, my husband’s family (the Myron Leavitt family), and my many friends whom I graduated with from Las Vegas High School. This tradition of singing “Home Means Nevada,” I hope, will continue for many generations to come.

JUNE ALLEN LEAVITT

LAS VEGAS

Two takers

To the editor:

According to Molly Ball’s article of Nov. 14, “Business leaders support Clinton,” former two-term Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones leads a group that endorses Sen. Hillary Clinton for president.

After reading the article, I felt a great sense of deja vu. Ms. Jones will be working again with a fellow taker. Both are takers. For the newer residents of Southern Nevada, Ms. Jones, as mayor, spearheaded and succeeded in taking the property of the Pappas family via eminent domain and giving it to the Fremont Street Experience.

Sen. Clinton, also a major-league taker, has already stated her plans to take billions of dollars from oil companies and redistribute it.

Is this partnership made in hell? Who are the next victims?

EDWARD R. DUFFY

LAS VEGAS

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