Too Many GunsIn my opinion we do not need "240 extra...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 07, 1992

Too Many Guns

In my opinion we do not need "240 extra policemen on our streets" to stop the needless killing of innocent people, rather we need "guns off the streets."

England functions without guns and so can America.

Ann G. Lynch

Baltimore

Shifting Sand

This spring the "beach reclamation" project at Ocean City was completed just in time for the summer tourist season, at a multi-million dollar cost to the taxpayers.

It turned out to be a cooler and wetter summer than usual, and fewer than the average number of tourists showed up.

This fall, tropical storm Danielle undid a significant portion of that project in just a few short hours.

I have an idea. This time, why don't we just fill up a bunch of dump trucks with more taxpayer dollars and back them up to the beach and dump the money into the ocean to "stabilize" the beaches? Then wait for another major storm to come and wash it all away.

Iver Mindel

Cockeysville

Blues Benefits

As nonprofit organizations, the Maryland Blue Cross and Blue Shield have been very profitable for some of their top executives. The Senate investigation has shown that some of them have been living a high lifestyle on the premiums paid for insurance.

In addition to receiving extravagant increases in salaries, they also enjoyed numerous perks such as sky boxes for baseball games, country club golfing, private Preakness tents, downtown club dining and travel packages, including trips to Hilton Head for golfing, to the Olympics in Spain and to other vacation spots -- even one to Russia.

Meanwhile, subscribers of the Blues have been paying higher premiums over the years. For example, a basic policy to supplement what Medicare covers for people over 65 increased 21 percent in 1990 and 14.8 percent in 1991.

In some cases, subscribers have had their health insurance claims denied for trivial reasons. Other people have experienced long delays before payment.

More than 500,000 Marylanders, especially younger workers and older retired persons, cannot even afford any health insurance . . .

We may be approaching a collapse of the Maryland Blues, as happened in West Virginia . . .

Health care reform is a major election year issue. Americans should have universal access to quality affordable health care -- not as a privilege but as a right. That requires tough controls on health costs.

Until we get a new and better health care system, there should be harsher criminal and civil penalties for violations of federal and state laws governing nonprofit organizations, such as the Blues. To prevent future abuses and perhaps a disaster, we need more, not less, government regulation.

William J. Ziegler

Ellicott City

State Policy on Cancer

In her letter Sept. 24, Vivian Adelberg Rudow suggested that Gov. William Donald Schaefer's war on cancer discriminates in ignoring the cancer most common to women.

We know it is difficult to keep up with the governor's prolific output of programs which serve the citizens of Maryland. The extensive publicity given to the governor's war on breast cancer, however, should certainly have come to Ms. Rudow's attention by now.

The governor, aware of Maryland's unenviable position as the state with the highest mortality rate from all cancers, has been waging a gender-neutral war against cancer for years.

As soon as the governor becomes aware of a prevention approach which could reduce the incidence of cancer in Maryland, he takes action. While he took action on breast cancer before addressing the issue of prostate cancer, no gender bias should be assumed.

Under Governor Schaefer, Maryland was one of the first employers in Maryland to include screening for breast cancer in the employees' health insurance program. The governor encouraged employees to use these benefits by directing the State Wellness Program, Club Maryland, to contract with the University of Maryland breast cancer screening program for statewide work-site screenings.

In the last 18 months alone, over 800 state employees and their dependents have been screened for breast cancer through this program.

The governor takes the devastating effects of all cancers on people and their families very seriously.

He has demonstrated his commitment with his battle to tax cigarettes, his executive order banning smoking in state buildings, by supporting mammography, colon-rectal and prostate screening programs and perhaps most importantly with his progressive approach to a benefit-plan design requiring the inclusion of preventive health services in all state benefit programs.

The governor believes that cancer is an equal opportunity disease and that prevention through early detection and education supported by gender-neutral benefit policies is the key to winning this war.

Hilda Ford

Nelson Sabatini

Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, Maryland secretary of personnel and secretary of health and mental hygiene.

Abortion Unsafe

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