Time for health care reform
An editorial in The Evening Sun (June 10) discussed th continuing decline of our patchwork health care system and pressing need for leadership in this area.
The United States and the Republic of South Africa are the only two industrialized nations that do not provide a guarantee of access to basic health care services for all citizens. For a nation that prides itself on its defense of equality and human rights, this comparison is both shocking and disturbing. The number of individuals in the United States without any form of health insurance is estimated to be between 34 and 37 million people. Estimates for those who are underinsured or who go without health insurance for at least part of the year are more than double this figure.
What makes this situation even more intolerable is the fact that we spend more on health care both per capita and as a percentage of our gross national product than any other nation in the world. According to recent estimates, we spend roughly 12 percent of our GNP on health care. The director of the Office of Management and Budget, Richard Darman, has suggested that at the current rate of medical care inflation, this figure will be 17 percent by the year 2000.
Canada, to whom the U.S. is often compared, spends roughly 8 percent of its GNP on health care. In spite of this tremendous commitment to health care, numerous health indicators show that Canadians are healthier than Americans. In fact, Americans have a shorter life span and a higher infant mortality rate than several other industrial nations. Clearly, we must change the way we finance and deliver health care services in the United States.
For several years, both as a health care practitioner and as a member of the Maryland General Assembly, I have studied the problems of our health care system. I am convinced we must fundamentally alter our health care system. Our multipayer health insurance "system" is extraordinarily wasteful. Millions of dollars that are spent on "health care" actually pay for the administrative costs of our inefficient system.
The most responsible course of action for our state is to build on the success of our all-payer system for hospital reimbursement and extend it to the outpatient care system. A single-payer system combined with a universal access program would provide the link between access and cost control that is necessary for a rational and equitable health care system.
Paula C. Hollinger
The writer is state senator from the 11th District.
Regarding your editorial "End this prohibition" (June 4), how one can compare taking a drink to taking a life? And if one who is opposed to ending a life is called a "zealot," what does your writer call one who takes a life?
Your statement, "If a sufficient number of people reject a law, there simply is no way to enforce a law," is absurd. People will always commit murder. Should we make it legal? People will always steal, take illegal drugs, etc. Should we change the law to accommodate a "sufficient" number of people?
It is nice to make choices, but snuffing out lives is not the answer to this very complex problem.
For over a decade, the Democratic Party has lost contact with the average citizen. This political group should seek a presidential candidate who is down-to-earth in human relations and conservative in his economics. This person must be able to cultivate the various skills that make freedom operational.
Today the Democratic leadership is just a headless torso in search of a central nervous system.
In light of the omissions of David Loebel, who was conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on July 3, I would like to speak out.
First of all, the snub of not even mentioning those who served and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives in the Desert Storm operation was not in keeping with the 4th of July celebration. This holiday has traditionally been used to celebrate our independence and salute the people of this fine country. To me, just playing U.S.-composed music did not adequately thank our returning servicemen and women.
Second, his suggestion that "America the Beautiful" replace "The Star-Spangled Banner" as our national anthem was in very bad taste (and was roundly booed). Baltimore, which played such an integral part of the history of this young country and its defense of freedom, was indeed the inspiration of the words of our national anthem. I think Mr. Loebel owes the people of this town an apology.
Martin D. Tullai's article, "Enduring myths surrounding an enduring document" (Other Voices, July 3), regarding the writing and subsequent signings of the Declaration of Independence, was a timely thought-provoker.
I hope in the near future, Mr. Tullai will favor us with some of his historical knowledge and thoughts (myth or otherwise) concerning the fact of George Washington's unfortunate decision not to sign the Declaration of Independence. Could i have been that the general was unduly disturbed (influenced) by thoughts of possible consequences like "hanging separately" if the British won the war?