Editor: Abolishing the Kidney Disease Program to save $3 million will have untold consequences for patients with end-stage renal disease. KDP provides a wide range of insurance services to these patients.
The program pays Medicare premiums and 20 percent of the cost of dialysis services not covered by Medicare. It also pays for the cost of prescriptions for patients without private prescription plans. KDP pays for the first three months of dialysis treatments until Medicare insurance is approved.
I am employed in a non-profit inner city dialysis unit. Not one of the patients we follow is capable of picking up the cost of services covered by KDP. Some patients are working-poor, disabled and/or elderly on fixed incomes. Patients who have had or are considering kidney transplants cannot afford the medications necessary to combat rejection.
There are many changes in the private insurance industry. Blue Cross/Blue Shield will no longer offer prescription coverage to the elderly. HMOs will not pay for dialysis services. In my past experience, HMOs have refused or dropped companies with employees who have major illness, including kidney failure.
The majority of patients affected will not meet the criteria for obtaining Medical Assistance. Inability to pay for prescriptions allows medical problems to be poorly treated, patients get sicker and require hospital admissions. In turn, hospitals will be forced to absorb the cost of services patients are unable to afford.
In the dialysis community, we recognize current economic conditions demand belt-tightening. There is room for revision within the KDP program. It is feasible to require patients to pay a deductible or co-pay for the prescriptions. This is less of a financial blow to patients.
The loss of KDP will force patients to choose among food, heat or medications. Patients will also lose Medicare coverage because they cannot pay their premiums. Dialysis units will not stop providing treatments because patients cannot pay.
Some dialysis units will close because of the loss of revenue. This will make it more difficult for patients to find dialysis services. It is dollar-wise on paper, but foolish to abolish the entire KDP program. This will cause more hardship and money than was saved.
Towanda D. Maker, R.N.
Editor: In viewing the current Middle East crisis it is clear that the United States is sacrificing its morals to deal with Saddam Hussein. U.S. allies Egypt and Syria were Cold War enemies with whom America fought through Israel in 1967 and in 1973.
U.S. government officials have stated that any terrorist attacks like the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 linked to Iraq would be a provocation to war, but Pan Am 103 has been linked to new U.S. ally, Syria.
In 1982 Syrian President Hafez Assad ordered 20,000 civilians in the Syrian city of Homa killed. The great, democratic United States of America is helping this man. Israel is condemned by the United Nations for the deaths of 14 Palestinians who attacked defenseless worshipers, but in 1976 the Syrian army killed 23,000 Palestinians. In 1970 the Jordanian military killed 3,400 Palestinians in 10 days of the ''black September'' riots.
In 1986 the nation America is attempting to restore with the lives of its own citizens, expelled 27,000 of its own people for pro-Palestinian rallies. Kuwait also allows slavery. Israel's United Nations ambassador summed up the situation by saying, ''I think the U.S. has a goal, and that is to maintain this coalition . . . against the aggression of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf, and to achieve that goal they think some principles can be sacrificed.''
For Good or Bad
Editor: Your Nov. 13 front-page article, ''Marine's father touches a raw nerve'' touched a raw nerve in me. Sometimes I think that when a recruit goes through basic training so should some of their relatives.
In the article Alex Molnar, is quoted as saying ''the Emir of Kuwait is not worth a drop of American blood.'' My answer to that is: are the English, French, Germans, Filipinos, Japanese, Israelis, Egyptians, Koreans, Vietnamese and so on?
Throughout our history American blood has been spilled to help other people out of oppression. For good or bad, win or lose, we've done it. If it was not for the Americans, the French would be speaking German and the Filipinos speaking Japanese.
We should stand behind our service men and women and support them so they feel good about what they are doing.
T. L. Baker.
Horse and Rider
Editor: KAL's depiction of President Bush, Nov. 11, as a medieval crusader whose charger thinks or hopes his rider knows what he's doing strikes a troubling chord. If I understand the symbolism, the horse stands for the electorate, and we have given the president a rather free rein in amassing an enormous strike force to oust the scoundrel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.