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Everybody's Column

We shouldn't cut funding for veterans' health care

We moved to Buffalo four years ago to be near our family as we aged. My husband enrolled at Veterans Affairs to get his prescriptions, as we did in Cleveland. We were so pleased to find out that the Buffalo VA Medical Center was cited by Business Week several years ago as one of the best in the country.

My husband became ill two years ago with strange symptoms that could not be diagnosed by the many doctors we saw. We were referred to the chief of neurology at the VA, who diagnosed him very quickly with a rare neurological disease called progressive supranuclear palsy. There is no known cause, treatment or cure.

The VA supplied health care aides several hours a day, six days a week, to help me maintain him at home. He entered a nursing home on Feb. 13, to my great sorrow. We applied for Medicaid this week and had been told that the VA would pay for the first month at the facility until Medicaid took over.

It was a great shock to find out that the VA has canceled both the Medicaid program and the home health care aide program due to lack of funds -- with no warning. This is truly a sad day when our veterans have to suffer.

Audri Carr

East Amherst

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Canine Therapy Teams are happy to help out

We appreciate The Buffalo News article "Comfort amid the chaos" on Feb. 21. Our Canine Teams were formed specifically after 9/1 1 to help victims of disaster and emergency workers.

We want to clarify that we are called out by, and work at the direction of, Specialized Medical Assistance Response Teams (SMART) and the Red Cross.

We are most grateful to have been a part of the extraordinary response by Western New York professionals and volunteers in the wake of the tragedy of Flight 3407.

Marilynn Kregal

Kim Griswold

Canine Therapy Teams of Western New York

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Krauthammer's work lacks thought, reason

Charles Krauthammer is a genius. President Obama has spent a fledgling 30 days in office as president and, thanks to Krauthammer's analysis, we know definitively that the president is a gutless, spineless capitulator on matters of foreign policy. ("Obama lacks foreign policy spine," Feb. 21 News.)

Forget thoughtful, intelligent, opinion-forming observation of events and policies. That's just leftist babble.

All we need are Krauthammer's 500-word neo-con soliloquies to give us a fair and balanced assessment of Obama's young presidency.

Why waste time waiting to see the outcome of Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan? That's too reasonable, and we all know how overrated the concept of "reason" is.

Besides, Obama's a Democrat, and troop surges only work if the idea comes from a Republican president.

In all seriousness, I ask The News to please stop publishing articles written by Krauthammer. He gives thoughtful and reasoned conservative thinkers and writers a bad name.

Steve Spillman

Tonawanda

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Legislation would help get Postal Service back on track

The U.S. Postal Service faces a severe crisis. Making things difficult financially is a legal requirement that the Postal Service prefund 80 percent of its future retiree health benefit costs over the next eight years at $5.5 billion annually, plus the $2 billion to $3 billion yearly it pays for current retiree health benefits. H.R. 22, a bipartisan bill, would allow the Postal Service to prefund its future health care obligations over a more reasonable period of time.

The bill would keep prefunding requirements but allow the service to immediately pay off current retirees' health insurance premiums out of the existing Retiree Health Benefits Fund. The service will still contribute to its rate-payer financed fund on a more affordable schedule. Under current law, any remaining unfunded liability would be gradually paid off over 40 years after 2016.

Enactment of this bill, co-sponsored by Reps. John McHugh, R-NY, and Danny Davis, D-Ill., would save the Postal Service $3.5 billion a year over the next eight years while it continues to build its Retiree Health Fund for the future. This is not a bailout. The bill does not require the use of taxpayer funds.

I encourage people to contact their representatives immediately to ask them to support this bill and get the Postal Service back on track to offering the public the best service possible.

David J. Grosskopf Jr.

Tonawanda

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There are better ways to stimulate economy

What happened to this country? How could our leaders run this beautiful land into the ground and get away with it? It's almost treason. Why not pass a stimulus package that will help the working, middle-class, taxpaying people in this country? After all, they are the backbone of this country, not our politicians.

People are afraid to spend what they have because people are losing their jobs and prices continue to go up, like gas.

If the so-called leaders of this once proud land want to stimulate the economy, then here's a way to do it. Help all homeowners, who have owned their home for at least three years, by paying off half of their existing mortgage up to $100,000 or give them a zero percent rate for 10 years, to free up some of their money to spend on other things.

Also, give working families a $10,000 to $20,000 voucher toward a new American car and that will help the Big Three, as long as they don't raise the prices.

And if you want to get people motivated to work, give them a similar, smaller program after working steady full time for 18 months. Got a better idea? Let's hear it.

Dale Michels Sr.

Cheektowaga

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Some award winners are more gracious than others

In regard to the Academy Awards:

Worst acceptance speech: Best actor Sean Penn, telling the majority of California voters to feel "shame" because they want marriage to continue to be defined as a union between one man and one woman.

Best acceptance speech: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winner Jerry Lewis, struggling against failing health, delivering a brief, heartfelt, perfectly prepared response of the utmost dignity.

Dan Mattimore

West Seneca

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