Fix the bureaucrats’ mess on healthcare: Ask nurses

I am not a politician or partisan person, but I am a citizen and parent who is concerned about the future of our country. The leaders of this country (both Republican and Democratic) seem to have a vested interest in dividing “we the people” in any way they can, be it economical, racial or political. In times like this that we have a complete lack of true leadership, the void will need to be filled by “we the people.” Because the people of Washington, D.C., cannot come up with an intelligent solution to the healthcare problem in America, here is mine:

We will need to repeal the 30,000 pages of bureaucratic mess with solution-based legislation that solves the problems. My plan would be to replace it with the following.

We would need to hire one person from every state to sit down and answer a simple question: What are the problems with the healthcare system and what are your solutions? 

The key to the plan is whom we bring in: Out of the 50 people, we have zero lobbyists, zero lawyers and absolutely zero politicians. The 50 people should be 50 nurses! 

Nurses are the backbone of the medical profession and they know the problems and the solutions. Why do we the people look to Washington, D.C., to fix problems when they do not know the healthcare system?

Conservatives have been saying repeal and replace but have not been specific about what to replace it with. I think it would be a stark contrast to put a 50- to 100-page solution written by nurses to the healthcare problems next to the 30,000 pages of pure stupidity drawn up by Washington, D.C.

From Andrew Pierson, Flemington, N.J.

Public health funding crucial for mentally ill

From Amy Elizabeth Crouch

I have been diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder. The cost of medications and treatment options are increasing. If you don’t have insurance, it is difficult to pay for medications and treatment. I am not working at this time because I am considered to be disabled. So I have Medicare and Medicaid, which helps pay for my mental healthcare. But, for a long time, I did not, and it was hard for me to pay for the things I needed to help manage my symptoms. 

I have been in and out of hospitals since my first major episode in my 20s. I am thankful for the help I am receiving through my county health department. But the program needs continuing funding to help many people like me who have little to no income to help pay for their treatment. With medication, support groups, therapy sessions and meetings with my psychiatrist have helped me manage my symptoms. I have my good days and bad days, but I have support to help me through it. So, I am thankful for the help I am and have received. 

But the health department needs continuous funding to help people like me with an illness that can be treated and managed. Having quality care for mental and physical illnesses are equally important. Without insurance, the price of psychiatric medications and treatment are extremely high. Please help advocate for mental health.

Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Veterans can’t sacrifice more to budget cuts

From Jerome D. Block, Army sergeant (retired), Vietnam War veteran

Veterans have already weathered the federal shutdown, which slowed their benefits and furloughed many who work for the government; they suffered through sequestration, which cut job training and military medical clinics; and now the Pentagon is threatening to spike their healthcare premiums. Whatever deal comes out of the new budget committee (“Juan Williams: GOP is deluding itself on spending,” Oct 28), it shouldn’t make any more demands on veterans, who have sacrificed enough.

In fact, veterans have sacrificed while some top defense programs have overrun their budgets with virtually no oversight, wasting billions. The Joint Strike Fighter  (JSF) alone costs taxpayers more than $12 billion every year and has exceeded its budget by 70 percent. Yet a recent report showed that the Pentagon is failing to oversee the fighter project, leading to ongoing technical problems, performance failures and even groundings. Fighter jet experts say taxpayers are paying top dollar for what has turned out to be a mediocre jet — yet the Pentagon has shielded the JSF from sequestration even as higher priorities like veterans get slammed.

If we exercised more oversight of out-of-control programs like the JSF, perhaps we could solve our debt problem without ransacking programs on which veterans depend.

Santa Fe, N.M.