Letters to the editor (05/09/13)

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Private hospital better
Editor:
It is not surprising that the lack of a hospital has created such preoccupation in Valencia County. It is burdensome and costly for patients and their families to be interned 40 miles from home. And the lack of an emergency facility can be fatal, no matter what one’s income or insurance coverage.
However, that mill levy passed in 2006 still has not resulted in a hospital. Because of the numerous disputes over where the hospital should be located, who will control it and whether the county can afford it, residents have suffered the consequences.
The disputes over building a hospital in Valencia County reflect the national debate about the nature and effectiveness of our health care system. T.R. Reid compared the U.S. health care system to that of all the other developed countries in the following way: “Most rich countries have better national health statistics — longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, better recovery rates from major diseases — than the United States does. Yet all the other rich countries spend far less on health care than the United States does.”
This is because we, as Americans, do not have a commitment to provide medical care for all our citizens. Instead, medical care is a commodity that you can get if you have the money or the health insurance to pay for it. Therefore, Valencia County will get a hospital only if some private entity can make money. It does not matter if we have a great need for a hospital; it must be financially beneficial for some corporation.
We attended the Feb. 20 county commission meeting in which two opposed proposals to build a hospital in Valencia County were presented: one in Belen, the other in Los Lunas.
Since the mill levy was intended to provide health care for Valencia County, we had presumed (wrongly) that it would be a county hospital. However, this community’s political leadership, like so many others in this country, think that a government supervised health care system is inefficient and that health care should be left to the private sector.
This view was clearly expressed at this meeting by Commissioner Romero when he praised the Lovelace proposal because the Los Lunas site was going to be a privately built and owned hospital. And that same view was also expressed by the former Commissioner Gentry at a meeting last fall: “This commission has never supported a county hospital. We have no expertise, no business doing this,”  News-Bulletin, Oct. 24, 2012.
In other words, we should give government revenue (mill levy) to private entities because they will provide the health care our residents need. Yet, other developed countries devote less to pay for medical care, everyone receives necessary medical care, and nobody goes bankrupt because of medical debt.
Those other countries’ health care systems have two common traits: universal access and strict government control of cost and services. These two traits contradict the idea that health care should be left to private corporations. Yet all parties in these disputes argue for private control and ownership.
If the county agrees with that argument, residents better have the money or the right health insurance to able to be hospitalized, as it will not be a hospital for all residents.

Horace A. Cox
Josephine Romero
Belen

Legislation was wrong
Editor:
I was under the impression that the voters in this state elected people to our Legislature who would improve and nurture our businesses and economy. But apparently that’s not the case.
There was a bill introduced into the Senate, SB 547, that would completely ban the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New Mexico. This bill would, for all practical purposes, end oil and gas production in New Mexico.
SB 547 would suck the lifeblood out of this state; oil and gas revenues bring in over $2.4 billion per year. Hundreds of millions of dollars would be lost, per year, affecting education, the general fund, and a myriad of other entities in the state that depend on oil and gas revenues.
Job losses would be in the thousands, but the authors of this bill don’t seem to care about any of those problems.
The authors seem to be more concerned about their radical environmental ideology and the irrational “Hollywood hype” that has been rampant in the news lately.
Apparently none of them realize, or have done any fact checking, that it has never been proven that fracking does harm to water supplies or anything else.
The Environmental Protection Agency is the most radical anti-fossil fuel organization on the planet, and for the past several years the EPA has been “fracking fairy tale hunting” and doing their utmost to substantiate the adverse tales about fracking.
However, so far they have to admit that they have found no confirmed pollution caused by fracking.  Fracking has been going on since the 1800s and has been standard practice for decades.
So we have to ask ourselves why would bills like SB 547 be introduced by our own legislators? It’s reasonable to think that we have a faction of legislators who cater strictly to the environmental crowd and the rest of us be damned. It seems like their goal is to hinder or eliminate exploration and production of oil and gas so that there would be no competition for their beloved wind and solar projects which have no chance of ever being economic, efficient or effective.
They would rather pour our money down the “green energy rat-hole” than help the economy of our state. Wind and solar do not provide us with reliable, affordable electricity and for every “green job” created, two and a half regular jobs are eliminated.
It’s an insult and embarrassment to the people of New Mexico to have legislation of this low caliber, SB 547, to be coming out of the legislative session.

Donna L. Crawford
Los Lunas