Editor: Stanford University economist Victor R. Fuchs doubts if this country can hope for a health care system as fair and economical as Canada's (The Sun, Sept. 27).
He says that U.S. civil services aren't good enough and that physicians, being ''individualistic'' like all Americans, won't stand for the government setting their fee schedules.
Professor Fuchs may be right about the civil services, but I've lived for a long time in both countries and I don't see that Americans are any more individualistic, any less conformist, than Canadians. Perhaps American doctors are more greedy, more selfish than Canadian doctors, but I doubt that too.
The main reason for Canada's better health services is that Canadian voters, acting through their legislatures, have been able to impose on Canadian doctors the discipline which the latter -- like American doctors according to Professor Fuchs -- were unwilling to impose on themselves.
This country can hope for health services as good as Canada's when American citizens start campaigning for Canadian-style health care systems with the same zeal they display in pushing for property tax ceilings and government spending restraints.
Of course, that sort of thing requires political leadership. Like the Canada has two political parties that are in the pocket of the capital gains gang. But Canada also has a third party that isn't.
That party was elected to power in one province and introduced universal medicare. The doctors struck, but the strike flopped. Medicare was popular, and soon the capital gains parties were ** bringing it in all over Canada because they didn't want to lose the next election.
Since then, doctors in one province or another have struck or threatened to strike from time to time, but none of them is short of a buck and whenever they do that public sympathy for them drops right through the floor.
Universal medicare would be popular here, too, but the U.S. has only those two capital gains parties and -- as Ellen Goodman wrote on Oct. 2 -- Americans don't credit their politicians with ''the will or the power or the willpower'' to change the future.
It doesn't sound as though U.S. doctors will have to talk about striking for a while yet.
Editor: You question why Gov. William Donald Schaefer continues to raise campaign funds when his war chest bulges with more than $2 million, compared to his opponent's $70,000.
With the front-page story in the same paper lamenting the dire budget picture, could it be that our most patriotic statesman is planning to use his surplus to reduce our deficit?
Nah! Old politicians don't behave that irrationally.
Jerry M. Brandt.
Editor: Neal Peirce's Opinion * Commentary article, "Billy Penn Is Broke," (Sept. 15), is an omen of what Baltimore and many other Northeast cities will become unless the peace dividend comes to the cities in the next few years.
We cannot afford spending money on defense for an imaginary enemy. Our social needs are our security needs. With the recent change in the "East-West" conflict, the arms race mentality is obsolete. It may have had some grounds for debate in the Seventies and Eighties, but we no longer need MX missiles carried on trains across the Midwest.
We no longer need Star Wars and other costly weapons systems to defend ourselves against the once "Evil Empire." What we do need is what Jobs With Peace has been asking for in recent years. We need money coming back to our cities from the military budget.
The over-zealous action in the Mideast is no reason for us to forget about our domestic needs. Star Wars has no purpose in defending our addiction to oil. We do not need 300,000 troops in Europe to defend ourselves against President Hussein.
We cannot let President Bush fool us, the peace dividend is there. We must demand it. Baltimore has great needs that the city can no longer pay for, such as housing and Mayor Kurt Schmoke's education plan.
Who cares about oil when you do not have a house to heat. We need the peace dividend as badly as Philadelphia does. Even though the urgency is not the same for us as it is for Philadelphia, the day is coming when the headline reads "Baltimore is Broke."
Editor: I read with interest Father Joseph Gallagher's commentary on the book ''A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy,'' written by Richard Sipe, a former priest who is now a psychotherapist.
There was never a mention that celibacy as a prerequisite for priests and nuns was not incorporated in Church dogma until 1563 and the Council of Trent. Of course, over the centuries, there was ample discussion and the views of those in power (or theologically influential at the time) prevailed.
So, what's new?