Insurers discourage breastfeedingCitizens should be made...

the Forum

March 04, 1992

Insurers discourage breastfeeding

Citizens should be made aware of the hypocritical attitude toward health preservation displayed by many so-called health maintenance organizations. Some of these insurance companies are more interested in managing your dollars than managing your health.

It has been established that breastfeeding, particularly during the first three months of an infant's life, will reduce the risk of infection and the chances of hospitalization. Breastfeeding may even increase the infant's ultimate intelligence.

It would seem logical and desirable for health maintenance organizations to promote and support efforts for mothers to successfully initiate breastfeeding. On occasion, such practice cannot be established in one day's time and feeding an infant from a bottle interferes with the establishment of the mother-infant bond.

The present policy of many insurance companies is to pay only for one day's hospitalization for a mother following delivery of her infant despite the need for some mothers to remain in a supportive environment for an extra day or two to ensure that breastfeeding has begun successfully and the mother is free of stressful disruptions. Do insurance companies really care?

This type of shortsighted attitude helps destroy healthy beginnings and is one further example of the failings of our current health insurance system.

Frank A. Oski, M.D.

Julia McMillan, M.D.

Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, director and associate director of the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Kerrey's plan

I'm glad you have finally targeted the most important issue facing America today -- health care. This nation will lose its economic strength if health care costs continue to skyrocket.

Of all the candidates for president, only Sen. Bob Kerrey has a program for controlling costs effectively while providing all Americans with quality health care. His plan will do this by eliminating the needless and costly paperwork plaguing patients, doctors and hospitals alike. This alone would pay for many millions of people who now have no insurance at all.

What about the alternatives? Let's look at three plans proposed by others who ask to be elected this fall. President Bush's plan is a cruel hoax on the American people. More of the same extravagant hodge-podge.

The Clinton and Tsongas plans, while less phony, would reduce out-of-control costs only marginally. They would put major new burdens on small businesses. The Tsongas plan would not confront the special interests that now profit so spectacularly off health care.

Bob Kerrey's plan will control health care costs with tight cost-controls in a simple, efficient system. It will provide access to health care to every American as a natural right and will let people continue to choose their own doctors, hospitals and health plans. Kerrey's Health USA will have a single-payer system for financing health care. This will reduce soaring medical costs.

L Let's make American great again by adopting the Kerrey plan.

Mace Olcott

Pikesville

False security

The false sense of security that a motorcycle helmet provides is by far more dangerous than not wearing a helmet at all.

Lawmakers seem to provide plenty of reasons why motorcyclists need to wear helmets, but they overlook the basic issue: preventing accidents. The helmet does offer a certain degree of protection at the expense of the wearer's hearing and full range of view. This may seem trivial to the non-rider, but try wearing a helmet while driving a car in congested fast-moving traffic.

Frank Slusher

Bel Air

EPA, do something

Bravo for Lisa M. Satterfield and her deep concern for our environment! The threat to sue the EPA for delay in enforcing recycling and safe disposal of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) in household appliances (Evening Sun, Feb. 20) made me think of how government and environmental agencies are juggling our time. The world's entire population and the earth's ecosystem are being endangered by mindless delays. The agency excused itself by claiming that it had been busy working with other aspects of the Clean Air Act, but I think that Ms. Satterfield, I and many other responsible citizens have had it with excuses. Article after article, news release after news release, finding after finding are bringing the imminent threat of ozone depletion closer to home. It should be up to agencies such as the EPA to ensure that something is being done. I don't know about them, but I wouldn't enjoy growing up to see my children wearing protective suits and playing in a dry, barren field.

Adriana Benitez

Baltimore

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