Editor: Does a guy qualify as a role model and a hero for our young just because he is six feet plus with a smile and can toss a ball into a basket, even though he confesses to promiscuity resulting in infection with HIV virus, which he risked giving to the woman he has since married, as well as to their offspring?
This country has so many real men who could qualify as role models. One good example who is so far superior that it is embarrassing to make a comparison: Vice President Quayle, whom any parent, grandparent, wife or child would be glad to claim as their own.
As a very young man he won a U.S. Senate seat in his home state, Indiana, against a powerful liberal Democrat, performed honorably and successfully for 14 years and has served with distinction as vice president to President Bush, who recognized the possibility of inspiring the young by appointment of such a man. He has thrived despite the continuous ridicule of the envious and the late-night stand-up-comic politicians and cartoonists and the media. His fortitude has been heroic and it will continue through the upcoming, slanderous campaign planned by the Democratic National Campaign against him and President Bush.
Mary P. W. Kendall.
Editor: In examining some ways firms seek to control health care costs, The Sun's Nov. 20 article, "Paying the doctor's bill," gives the AFL-CIO a forum for advocating national health insurance without giving any significant mention to the firms that are successfully implementing private-sector solutions to health care costs, such as managed care.
To suggest that the use of HMOs and other managed care arrangements "helped a little" is to underestimate the influence of these programs.
Recent studies suggest that in regions where managed care's penetration is high, overall medical costs are lowered. Too often it is legislative or regulatory barriers, not the effectiveness of these plans that prevent further impact in containing costs.
William Hoffman, director of social services for the United Auto Workers, need only look at his fellow union employees in the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to counter his assertion that even the "most innovative solutions" in controlling health-care costs have been "less than effective in holding down costs.
Both the CWA and the IBEW have been successful in negotiating agreements with several telecommunications firms (including AT&T, Pacific Telesis Group, Southwestern Bell and Bell Atlantic) to develop managed-care programs for their employees. These programs have been effective, not only in containing health-care costs beyond a one-time savings, but in providing quality care to satisfied employees.
There are no easy solutions to the problems associated with our present health-care system and managed care does not pretend to be the only answer. It does, however, represent a rational, proven approach to delivering and financing health care and a basis from which to incorporate other system improvements.
Anthony R. Masso.
The writer is a director for the Health Insurance Association of America.
Editor: Let us all be aware of the importance of the primary election.
I have no sympathy for the voters of Louisiana. They chose a crook and a racist to be their candidates in the general election. The voters had other choices, therefore they alone stand responsible for the outcome. And what an outcome!
Maryland will be having a presidential primary election next March 3. I urge all registered voters to exercise their enfranchisement, but look to your conscience.
Marjorie J. Neuman.
Let It Glow
Editor: I am writing in response to a couple of articles that you have had in your paper about Lane Berk and her Baltimore "sign/art." I am appalled that the City of Baltimore would spend so much time, money and effort battling over such a trite issue. Wouldn't our money be better spent improving education and fighting crime?
I am currently living in Baltimore County. I teach at the New Community College of Baltimore and I have a private counseling practice downtown. I have seriously considered moving downtown. I am now re-evaluating my decision. It doesn't make much sense to live downtown if the city could sue me for expressing myself in a non-threatening and benevolent way.
Editor: With worries over the economy filling much of the news, I, like many people I'm sure, must have missed a change in our traffic laws. I'm sure they are designed to save fuel just like right-turn-on-red was. Now, when a light turns red there is no need to stop until the opposing traffic has fully blocked the intersection.
You can watch this just about any time at the corner of Lombard and Light streets -- the traffic police even help out the red-lighters by waving them through. It is not unusual to see five or six cars go through a very stale red light downtown.