Enable nurse practitioners

The shortage of primary care physicians in Nebraska continues to gain attention. Sixty-five of Nebraska’s 93 counties are primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA), and 15 have no primary providers. Mental health data are worse — 88 HPSAs and 37 counties with no providers. There will be 237,000 uninsured individuals seeking health care coverage by January 2014 and baby boomers are aging.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are a solution. Twenty years of research supports the credibility of NPs in providing high-quality, cost-effective health care. The Center for Health Policy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health points out that many rural Nebraska counties already rely on the state’s 1,080 NPs who may be the only providers in some areas.

The Rural Health Research Center and the Institute of Medicine encourage states to consider independent practice for NPs. In states allowing NPs to be independent, more of them practice in rural areas. Nebraska loses NPs to other states, and 18 have independent NP practices, including Iowa, Colorado and Wyoming.

Nebraska requires an Integrated Practice Agreement with a physician. The agreement is a barrier to health care delivery, and no evidence supports that requiring one results in higher-quality care.

Nebraska Nurse Practitioners, the Nebraska Nurses Association and Nebraska Action Coalition-Future of Nursing share the concerns of our physician colleagues, policy-makers, stakeholders and consumers. We seek to collaborate with all Nebraskans to find solutions that allow us to maintain “The Good Life.”

Cathy Phillips, Hastings, Neb.

Legislative chair, Nebraska

Nurse Practitioners

Theresa Anderson, Omaha

President, Nebraska Nurses Association

Victoria Vinton, Omaha

Director, Nebraska Action

Coalition-Future of Nursing

Debt plan is poorly defined

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a progressive is defined as someone who is “promoting or favoring political reform” and is “advancing.”

Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and economist, declares himself a progressive (Jan. 8 More Commentary). Krugman calls for the raising of the debt ceiling, again. Based upon past debt ceiling votes, the vast majority of progressives don’t think the debt ceiling should ever be, well, a ceiling.

In the same edition of The World-Herald, an article on the debt ceiling stated that “without a new debt ceiling the government lacks the ability to borrow in order to pay the debt it already has incurred and owes.” What? We should incur additional debt to pay off the current debt?

To me, that sounds like a vicious circle that is more regressive — defined as “relapsing to a less perfect or developed state” — than progressive. Perhaps the so-called progressives should change their name to something more appropriate.

Scott Darden, Omaha

Hagel deserving of Defense

I am a lifelong Republican. I am pleased that Chuck Hagel is at last getting the national recognition he deserves. Three times in Republican primaries, I have written in Chuck Hagel as my choice for president.

He is superbly qualified for the job of secretary of defense. Nebraska can be proud of its native son.

Charles M. White, Portland, Ore.

Keep government out of tanning

Thank God we have politicians like State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist focusing on the “epidemic” of teen tanning when more children die each year from alcohol-related deaths. But wait, alcohol is illegal for children, so that doesn’t add up!

My point is that if teens want something bad enough, they will reach out and find it. So if teens are banned from a tanning salon, they are going to get a tan in an unregulated environment where there won’t be someone to teach them the proper way to achieve a tan without burning.

I read the research, not just the headlines. I know that UV light in a tanning bed is made up of the same UV components as the sun. I also know that everything on Earth needs sunlight to live.

I also know that disease I can get from being Vitamin D-deficient far exceeds the risk of sun exposure. Therefore, it’s my choice if I want to allow my children to get Vitamin D from a sunbed or have them take artificial Vitamin D supplements.

Tanning is an individual choice, so I really don’t understand why the government thinks it needs to interfere.

Heather Almond, Omaha

Sometimes the law isn’t just

The Nebraska Supreme Court recently ruled that an illegal immigrant using identity theft to secure a job in Nebraska is entitled to receive workers’ compensation payments for the rest of his life for an injury that he sustained while on the job.

It is projected that he will receive about $2 million in lifetime payments because a forklift ran over his foot and he had several broken bones. With his lawyer’s help, it was determined that the illegal immigrant’s injuries included a severe nerve disorder in his foot, severe back pain and severe hip pain. He is to receive $333.88 per week in lost wages during his remaining life expectancy, $987 per month for pain medication and about $2,000 per year for medical expenses.

It this a great country or what? Where else can an individual use the judicial system to obtain a lifetime of benefits for an injury that occurred while on a job that he fraudulently secured?

Now, I am no lawyer, but I have seen enough “Judge Judy” to know that you do not come to court with dirty hands. Judge Judy would have thrown him and his lawyer out of her courtroom in an instant.

Jim Busenbark, Omaha

Rich donors are on both sides

As an independent voter, I would like to respond to Archie Sutfin (Jan. 7 Pulse), who is of the assumption that only the rich are Republican. He also seems to believe that if the rich were taxed more, they would be less inclined to donate to Republican campaigns because their “guy in office” didn’t help them out.

Let’s see, in the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama received more corporate donations than the Republicans. Other rich segments that contribute to Democratic causes are trial lawyers, Hollywood producers/actors, NBA players, rap stars, labor unions and Bernie Madoff. (To be fair, he gave 89 percent to Democrats, and 11 percent went to Republicans.)

Our nation would not survive without a two-party system. If we had only one party, we would be like North Korea, China, Cuba and Iran. Be careful what you wish for.

Pete Menks, Omaha

Blame can only extend so far

The past four years, Barack Obama and the Democrats have blamed George W. Bush for one thing or another.

I have a question for all of the Obama followers: If you can’t get the doctor, medicine or care you need and want with Obamacare, will that be Bush’s fault, too? Isn’t about time you look at the facts about your president?

Vicki Schwartzer, Columbus, Neb.

A little motivation goes long way

Why is the choice always between raising the debt limit or denying the old folks their Social Security money? How about withholding the salaries of Congress and the president until this problem is solved?

Betcha it wouldn’t take them long to get it done.

Ruth Naberhaus, Stanton, Iowa

Citizens need to be watchful

In this country we refer to our police departments as “law enforcement.” That’s a misnomer. A law has to be broken before the police can act. In this day and age, we need them to do something else. They need to be “law defenders” and stop crimes before they happen.

How can they do that? Well, they can’t, because there aren’t enough of them. But we can help, as an involved citizenry. We need to do what our Founding Fathers did: Be watchful and defend our city and country.

We as citizens of Omaha have to join the Omaha Watcher Army. Cooperate with the police. Call them when you see something suspicious. Write down license plate numbers and take pictures of suspicious activity. Identify people you know have committed crimes, and stop the criminal before he or she has the chance to commit the crime.

Crime can only exist where it is allowed to exist through fear and intimidation. If we deny the criminal the safe haven of silence, criminals will be caught and prosecuted and the number of crimes will decrease.

Then all we have to do is demand that our courts enforce the laws to the max, and remember that jails are for punishment, not rehabilitation.

John Wright, Omaha

Might be best to set sights lower

Bo Pelini declares our team will soon play for a national championship? In whose lifetime? I waited 40-some years for the first and second, then 24 more for the next three.

The coach must take us for fools or country bumpkins if he thinks he can sell that idea to Husker fans. Worse yet, I take offense to his attitude that we are a bunch of numbskulls who know nothing about the game.

He should not insult us with his proclamations. We haven’t had a conference championship for 13 years. He has been involved in that failure more than once.

Robert L. Brommer, Lincoln

Start new NU arena off right

It would be great to see the Husker men’s basketball team open the new arena with an old Big Eight foe. The game would have more meaning if the Kansas Jayhawks, Missouri Tigers, Iowa State Cyclones, etc., were running out of the visitors’ locker room.

Husker hoops fans would have the joint rockin’ for a matchup like this. A familiar foe would give the game more meaning.

Cletis Wilke, Homer, Neb.

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