A wheelchair user in a track chair traverses the snow...

A wheelchair user in a track chair traverses the snow at Minnesota's Myre-Big Island State Park. Credit: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources/Deborah Rose

Care more about people, not military

The placement of two similar op-eds on the same page on Tuesday was wise. “Disability support needs more funding” and “Keep veterans health care centers open” [Opinion, Nov. 29] were both concerned with the grossly inadequate funding for the necessary care of disabled Americans and of American veterans.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military budget continues to increase yearly and is now larger than the military budgets of the next nine nations combined, including China and Russia.

When the wealthiest nation in history yearly spends more than $750 billion on war while its neediest citizens suffer from the lack of needed medical care, much is very wrong about its priorities.

In his farewell address in January 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the power and influence of the military-industrial (congressional) complex. He would be justifiably appalled at today’s bloated military budget.

Significantly cutting the military budget and using those hundreds of billions of dollars to improve the lives of suffering Americans is not only necessary, but it is the moral thing to do. It is time that both political parties cared more about their neediest constituents than about their wealthy donors and acted accordingly.

— Ed Ciaccio, Little Neck

I totally commend and agree with Saundra M. Gumerove’s op-ed on funding for the disabled. In 2022, more than 2,400 people have called the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Queens/Nassau for assistance, and we have hosted more than 200 meetings, groups and classes. We work diligently to support people with mental health concerns and their loved ones. Yet, this is not enough.

Our state senators and Assembly members have offered more support for the people we serve than they had in recent years. Yet, more is needed. Respectable housing must be provided.

Our population needs and deserves insurance parity with those receiving physical health care. Hospitals and physicians are careful about serving people with mental health issues. They don’t receive as much financial aid as they do for people with physical health issues.

Hospital beds usually reserved for people with mental health issues are being closed for several reasons, including lack of insurance parity. There are not enough community resources for people who do not have adequate insurance plans.

New York State has a severe shortage of psychiatrists. Groups providing people with disability support must unite to ensure that our legislators provide support for our vulnerable populations.

 — David J. Sills, Carle Place

The writer is president of NAMI Queens/Nassau.

Adaptive equipment needed on Long Island

The article “Removing barriers to hiking trail access” [travel, Nov. 27] tells wonderful stories of places far removed from Long Island.

All-terrain wheelchairs, other adaptive equipment (like beach wheelchairs and mobi-mats) and accommodations for those with disabilities need to be much more available on our own home turf.

Everyone deserves to have fun, including those with mobility challenges and other disabilities. It is up to our government to make such things a priority on Long Island.

— Roberta Rosenberg, East Northport

The writer is director of Destination Accessible, which provides details on handicapped accessibility, mostly on Long Island.

Compare minority percentages fairly

The comparison of the percentage of minority mental health professionals to the percentage in the general population is misleading [“  ‘Someone who could relate to me,’  ” News, Nov. 27].

The comparison should be the percentage of minorities with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (which one needs to be a psychiatrist or psychologist) to the general population, including high school graduation, college entry and college graduation rates among minorities.

Simply comparing percentage of minority mental health professionals to overall minority population percentage is misleading and erroneous because it includes all ages within that group.

It also is misdirected as it ignores the most critical factor when one is choosing any medical professional: competency.

I’m confident that if people needed heart bypass surgery, they would want the most competent doctor and not care if the surgeon was from their own ethnicity.

 — Claude Kasman, Nesconset

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