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Talk of the Town

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Life Imitating Art Can Turn Really Ugly

IT SEEMS LIKE every day I open the paper or read on Facebook that another business has created a product to mimic the “blue meth” on the TV show “Breaking Bad.” I find it appalling and irresponsible. To turn a disgusting, life-ruining drug into a novelty item is beyond ridiculous — it is promoting drug use and making our youth believe it’s cool.

I have worked with at-risk youths for many years of my young life and I have met many boys who have grown up around meth and begin to use it themselves. It is bad enough that they see it at home. There is no plausible explanation for making meth into candy or bath salts.

How has this become an acceptable practice in our city? What’s next? Chocolate in syringes to look like heroin? Because, hey, I know that is cool — I had a friend die from it last week.

ERICKA CHESHIRE

Albuquerque

Eleven Years Is Way Too Long

WHEN AN Afghan security trainee can shoot 75 bullets into two of our precious servicemen without intervention from other present Afghan security trainees, it is time to come home.

EFFIE OSBORNE

Rio Rancho

Nothing Works for MVD Staff

ON A RECENT trip to the MVD to transfer ownership on a utility trailer we had just purchased, the wait was over two hours. It is a small office so I was able to watch all of those waiting before me.

The first man was trying to change the address on his license as is required by law. They asked him for three forms of ID and the driver’s license was not acceptable as one of those forms. After working with the lady answering questions for over an hour, he was turned away to return more information.

A young girl and her father were trying to get a learning permit. After waiting a ridiculous amount of time, she was turned away because the certified copy of her birth certificate they had just obtained from Santa Fe at the New Mexico Human Statistics was not acceptable to the clerk because it was not the original.

Another man was trying to get his New Mexico driver’s license as he had moved here from Arizona. He didn’t bring enough forms of ID according to the clerk, and he too was sent away.

Then, my number was called and I went to the counter. I had the title to the trailer signed over from the seller, but the clerk said I would have to find the seller to get a bill of sale — something that has historically been tossed aside when brought in before with other purchases.

Upon my return trip, the scene played over. I watched a man turned away because he was completing the buyer’s address section on a bill of sale and the clerk refused to accept it, stating he could have fraudulently completed the form.

They should just close the MVD office in Moriarty. We will go to Estancia or Albuquerque from now on.

ERIC POHL

Moriarty

Congratulations to Family Court Judge

I WANTED to publicly congratulate Alisa Hadfield on her election victory Nov. 6. She ran an honorable campaign.

To my supporters I wanted to say thank you and encourage them to get behind Judge Hadfield to support her and make Family Court as strong as it can be for the future. In doing so we will strengthen our community and help families.

Best wishes for her success during her term as judge in Division 21, Family Court.

DAVID A. STANDRIDGE

Albuquerque

Single-Payer Is the Solution We Need

WINTHROP QUIGLEY’S recent commentary— “Health Care Landscape Changing” — drew some interesting lessons to be learned from the recent Lovelace Health Plan/ABQ Health Partners “war.” I would add a couple more.

The choice that is important to people is choice of doctor, not choice of insurance company. For example, if Lovelace Health Plan had been purchased by a huge insurance company and people would have had to switch insurance companies, not a tear would have been shed over that loss of choice.

The misery many in New Mexico faced recently was because they might lose their chosen doctor, or have their choice of doctor limited in the future. Since single-payer provides maximal freedom in choice of doctor, it best protects this highly valued freedom.

The “misery thousands of New Mexicans endured” lately should sensitize us to the misery faced by hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans who have no health insurance whatsoever. The uninsured know every day that if they become sick or injured, they face delayed or unavailable care, bankruptcy, or all of the above.

While I would quibble with all Quigley’s economic misgivings about single-payer, I would return to the fact that the most powerful argument for single-payer is the moral one.

WILLIAM ULWELLING, M.D.

Albuquerque

Frankly, It’s Enough To Make You Sick

ALL I HAVE heard and read is how wonderful the change from ABQ Health Partners to Lovelace has been. How about a letter from one of the many people who have had nothing but problems with the change?

My husband and I went to a Lovelace conference about the changes. The lady who spoke seemed very knowledgeable but seemed to be talking in circles and over the heads of most of the older people in the room. My husband and I went to another open enrollment fair at the UNM Continuing Education Conference Center. We spoke to one of the Lovelace representatives, and two doctors were picked for each of us. The first doctor on my husband’s list was OK. The second doctor was at the same location as the two doctors picked for me.

When I went to the location of the two doctors picked for me, I had trouble finding the office, so I called. I was told they are not a primary care physician and in fact are a reproduction clinic. At my age, I do not need to reproduce, so the next day I called the number we were given for new suggestions. I was to be given new doctor name in a return call, which I never got.

I took the provider directory and started to look for doctors on my own. I went to an address on Louisiana NE to check on a doctor’s office and found the office did not exist. I checked three more doctors and was told that they are not taking new patients.

I finally put my name on a list at one of the clinics, who said they would call me if they find room. This was not acceptable to me. In checking the urgent care list we were given, I found a doctor who was willing to be my PCP if necessary.

Then I saw an ad for a new doctor’s office and decided to check on it. Fortunately, this office was new enough that there was room for me. I am very unhappy about this whole situation, as for us it was not the “easy, wonderful” change promised. I am hoping that we have finally found doctors who will see us and we won’t have to start this whole thing over again.

MARIANE MILLER

Albuquerque

Lovelace Handles Change Right Way

I AM GIVING a “shout out” to Lovelace Health Plan. I am quite impressed with the way they have handled the situation with ABQ Health Partners. Sending out letters and conducting meetings about the changes can and should be expected with a situation like this.

They have been inundated with phone calls, yet I have always either been directly connected to a person or, if I have had to leave a message, the call has been returned if not the same day, then early the next.

What has impressed me is the proactive phone calls I have received, with four to date, to make sure I was set with a new physician — or in my case, physicians, as I need both a primary care doc as well as a pulmonary doctor, or had any other questions.

I am not blown away because both of my doctors at ABQ Health Partners were new to me. Doctors have resigned and retired. In no cases when that has occurred has ABQ Health Partners offered any assistance in finding a new doctor. In several cases I was never even notified that the doctor was leaving. In one case I had a message on a Thursday afternoon to give my primary care doctor a call, and when I did the following Monday morning I was told that she was leaving. …

I am on the Lovelace Medicare Plan. The premiums this year are lower that they were last year. The premiums for 2013 are staying the same as they are now and the co-pay for the vision well eye care annual exam has been eliminated. You can’t beat that. For me, I give a hat’s off to LHP!

DIANE SPARAGO

Albuquerque

Tax Bite Keeps Getting Deeper

I FEEL I must have my say regarding the increase in property taxes this year. For the past four years, at least, my property taxes have risen on my small home near Coronado Center an average of $51 per year.

This increase alone is almost 100 percent more than the amount paid by the owner of the $7 million home that was recently in the news. How fair is that! I am thoroughly disgusted and wonder just who is making these assessments and how they are figured.

Maybe, as in the case of the error somehow made in the newsworthy account, my assessment is, in reality, an error also? One could only wish!

LOLA R. EAGLE

Albuquerque

The News Is Good, If Poorly Reported

THE STORY on war dogs in the “Fetch!” section is much appreciated for the attention it focuses on the valuable role of military working dogs in the U.S. armed forces. These canine “soldiers” have saved uncountable American lives in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They deserve the nation’s attention and gratitude.

However, the Associated Press story inaccurately labeled that sculpture as the “first national monument to pay tribute to military dogs.” That’s wrong on two counts.

First, a “national monument” is a physical site designated by presidential proclamation or congressional action worthy of maintenance at taxpayer expense. There are 104 in the nation.

The sculpture in the story uses the word “national” in its title, but its location will not be an official national monument site, as the story claims. (Neither is Yosemite National Park, which the story cites.)

The law cited by the story did not designate the sculpture as a national monument. It only authorized placing the sculpture on a military base. It states, “The United States government shall not pay any expense for the establishment or maintenance of the monument.”

The story’s sculpture was commissioned and will be maintained at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas by private funds donated to John Burnam Monument Foundation Inc.

Second, the sculpture will be the third war dog monument of national rather than local stature by being placed on a military base. Similar sculptures, often referred to as “national war dog memorials,” were erected in 2000 next to military museums on March Air Reserve Base, California, and the Army base at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The AP’s errors are misleading. However, as editor of the Vietnam Dog Handler Association’s national newsletter, “DogMan,” I welcome this latest sculpture as another fitting tribute to our military’s canine partners.

DENNIS HERRICK

Rio Rancho

Private Insurance Can’t Touch the ACA

LETTER WRITER Dale McCan blames the Affordable Care Act for his 37 percent increase in the cost of his health care plan, but one wonders what explanation he used for increases in health care costs in previous years.

Until I retired last year, I can remember increases in the cost of my employer-supported, private health care plan of anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent per year, along with increased deductibles and reduced coverage.

So the 37 percent increase in cost he experienced this year is in the ballpark of the increases seen in previous years, but at least with the Affordable Care Act, millions more people are covered, pre-existing conditions are covered when you change plans, your kids are covered until age 26, and insurers must offer more preventive services as part of their coverage.

In the absence of a government program, private insurers would never have provided such benefits without enormous increases in cost to the public.

ED BIRNBAUM

Los Alamos

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