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Letters to the editor

I FIND THE “outrage” expressed by (Rep. Michelle) Lujan-Grisham and (Sen. Martin) Heinrich regarding the recent VA scandal to be convenient – and absurdly ludicrous. Perhaps if they spent more time concerned about our veterans instead of sponsoring bills to subsidize health insurance for illegals, the problem may not have been so bad, albeit doubtful since this sad state of affairs has gone on for years. They feel “misled” by the VA – guess what, so did all of America about the lies supporting Obamacare, yet one didn’t hear a peep out of them on that issue.

Once again, the elected representatives of New Mexico have shown what fine individuals they are.



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AS I FOLLOW this story, I see a great many members of Congress – armed with the latest in high-tech Blamethrowers – firing in all directions. They want answers in this, an election season. They want to know who to blame. Well, for starters, I suggest they all buy mirrors and gaze deeply into them.

The VA has, for many years, simply been something Congress talks about but does nothing to fix. Funding for the VA has been sporadic, often used as a political bargaining chip by these so-called concerned leaders of America. In my opinion, the Tea Party was the worst opponent the VA ever had, with their blind slashing. They’ve done so much damage to so many people.

I heard the disclosure that the “phantom lists” were tied to bonuses for VA executives and thought to myself, who actually proposed this idea? Who accepted the concept? And who implemented it thinking, “Yeah, this has worked so well out in the world of corporate greed that it will enable a government entity to function smoothly?” How was this idea good?

I hated to see General Shinseki take the fall for this debacle as who best to take care of our wounded warriors but a man who rose through the military ranks and suffered wounds himself. He was one of the good guys. We needed a military mind taking care of military people and apparently we need a different thought process when it comes to funding the VA.

It should be taken out of the hands of Congress immediately. The VA funding should be budgeted on the same level as weapons R&D and Black Ops. Billions are signed over to weapons design and CIA spooks without question and without politics.

The VA needs to spend a lot of money to take care of the people we eagerly and patriotically send to fight our wars. They suffer while we get to watch TV at night.

OK, that’s my two cents.


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AS A RETIRED Air Force veteran, I have used the military hospital system for nearly forty years.

When it was difficult to schedule an appointment with an Air Force doctor, the military had procedures to refer me to a civilian doctor in the nearby city. The authorizations were for as long as medically necessary. I wondered why the VA was not doing this.

After doing some research, I was able to find that the VA is also allowed to refer patients to outside doctors and hospitals. A limitation is that the referral only covers the treatment necessary to stabilize the patient, not for long-term care. Is this one of the reasons why the VA is not providing adequate care for our veterans?

Congress should review the current law and remove limitations that prevent the necessary medical care for our veterans. They should also ensure that there is adequate funding for all care.



I AM A Vietnam veteran who was 100 percent combat disabled in 1968. I retired from the San Antonio, Texas, VA hospital in 1996, and used the hospital there and in Albuquerque so I am familiar with the problems over the years at these facilities. In addition, I have been seen by the Houston VA and Kansas City VA in the past.

Problems with these hospitals are nothing new and have been related to staffing problems at the clinics, as well as personnel required to evaluate the new claims. When you go to war, the first thing the government seems to do is plan for paying the contractors that supply the military. Government seems to forget that a new crop of veterans will result from these wars.

I have personally had problems over the years with clinic appointment delays – eye clinic in San Antonio in the ’90s and dental clinic in Albuquerque over the past few years. I also have had wonderful successes with the SCIU, GI clinic, dermatology and surgery clinic.

The recent problems seem to relate to inadequate planning for the aftermath of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from the start. The facilities that were involved in cover-ups need to be taken to task for their treatment of veterans and a prompt resolution of the causes is essential.

I appreciate the efforts of Sen. (Tom) Udall in pushing for investigations relating to the VA facilities all over the country so the veterans can all receive the treatment they deserve and have been promised.


Cedar Crest

I’M SURE YOU’VE heard of Champva, right? Well, I hadn’t until my wife retired and no longer had employer-provided health care.

I am a 100 percent disabled vet and my wife qualifies for VA health care as my spouse. She gets Champva and a health care card she can use anywhere. So our spouses and children that qualify get Champva and us vets are stuck with the VA hospital system. Huh?

Scrap the VA hospital system, fire all VA civil service employees and farm Champva out to private insurers. The government will save billions annually and vets will finally get health care anywhere they want. The impossible dream or a can do proposition if politicians butt out?



Complaints about the VA are all about getting re-elected

WATCH THE politicians of both parties jump on the “Kick-The-VA-When-It-Is-Down-So-I-Can-Get-Re-Elected” bandwagon.