Dear Editor: This, from Jefferson Public Radio regarding the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, dated Aug. 6, 2019: “The Veterans Administration Medical Center in Roseburg has been warning veterans for months that a shutdown of their emergency department could be imminent. Now, that warning has become a reality.

“Instead of a full emergency department, the Roseburg VA has decided to operate a Monday through Friday urgent care clinic in its place. VA officials cited the difficulty in hiring specialized staff, such as lab technicians, who are needed to support an emergency care facility.”

Bad news for local veterans. I may be wrong here, but I think the only full-service VA hospital in the entire state of Oregon is in Portland, five hours away.

The VA clinic here in Brookings has but one physician. Dr. Matty left a few months ago for Coeur d’Alene and we had no physician for a month. I tried to get an appointment and the wait is two months, backed up because they could not find a physician.

The VA is going to have to begin paying competitive salaries, or this is our future. Medicare is going to have to begin paying competitive rates to doctors, or even more will stop seeing seniors, or retire, or go out of business. This is happening now.

Do you think for one moment that “Medicare-For-All” will pay doctors a fair rate, when they can make more money flipping burgers at a fast-food joint? The government-run Veterans Administration can’t do it.

Medicare pays way less to doctors than do insurance companies. Currently, doctors cannot survive on Medicare payments only.

Medicare for seniors is one thing. Medicare for all is quite another. Look at it from the doctors’ standpoint.

We better think this through before November 2020.


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