Health reform tests Clinton's integrityHeads up, America...

the Forum

March 19, 1993

Health reform tests Clinton's integrity

Heads up, America! You're about to be shafted again -- by the same insurance companies and medical providers who have kept medical care from 37 million Americans and who are beggaring the rest of us.

They now spend millions on dishonest advertisements and political action committee contributions to market a scam called "managed competition," which is essentially the old "play or pay" tart in a new kimono.

"Managed competition" has been described as a "scam" and a "medical arms race."

All western countries ("the club of civilized nations") except the U.S. provide complete health care. Their health standards are far higher than ours and their costs far lower. The U.S. is 24th in the world in infant mortality.

The "civilized nations" spend about 7 percent of gross national product for health care; we spend 14 percent for partial care. "Single payer" would provide complete care and save the U.S. $125 billion a year. The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that the system that best ensures care, choice and savings is "single payer."

The money is there -- painlessly. Restoring only Reagan's 8 percent tax cut for the nation's richest 1 percent would yield over $30 billion a year.

It is insurers and providers versus the American people. Medical care is a test of the integrity of the Clinton presidency. The U.S. will enact a "single payer" system, with cost controls, or remain the world's medical pariah.

Eugene J. McNulty


D.C. statehood

Thomas F. Cadwalader Jr. writes that a state cannot be created from another state without the other state's consent (Forum, March 10).

He suggests that this applies to statehood for the District of Columbia. He ignores the fact that the district has not been part of Maryland for the past 193 years. Why does he submit this frivolity?

I know a substantive argument. Maryland never formally ceded the district with the understanding that it would be a separate area (I'm not sure that it is true).

It doesn't matter that Maryland stood by as its citizens were deprived of their voice in Maryland affairs. Therefore, Maryland retains a vestigial right to deny statehood to the District.

The problem goes deeper. If the district is denied statehood because Maryland withholds its consent, the district could be merged back into Maryland without the state's consent.

Paul O'Brien


Methadone centers

As the principal owner of Another Way, the methadone maintenance rehabilitation center that is considering opening in Baltimore County, I am deeply disappointed in Mike Gimbel, head of the Office of Substance Abuse for Baltimore County.

It is my understanding that Mr. Gimbel's job is to educate the community concerning the plight of the addict and offer different treatment programs for the addicts.

He is doing a disservice to both the community and the addict by playing upon the communities' misconceptions and stoking their fears concerning the addict for his own personal gains.

Having been on methadone himself, he must realize it helps the person start to lead a normal life.

We went to his office for guidance and help concerning the community. Mr. Gimbel needs to re-evaluate his job description. His position was created to help the addict, not to cause a public panic over a proven, successful treatment program for a disease that affects our community.

Neal A. Berch


His Honor's wheels

Hundreds are homeless. Many more hundreds go hungry. The sick, the poor, these are the people of Baltimore.

We had a comptroller who, when she took office, spent $19,000 of taxpayers' money for a new car. Now we have Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke wanting to buy not one but two Lincolns. Again, with taxpayers' money.

How is this expenditure justified? And why are two cars needed? fact, why can't these people use their own cars? Let the city pay them for gas, oil, etc. It would be many thousands of dollars cheaper.

What's to stop all City Council members from wanting new cars? There is no intelligent reason for the mayor needing two cars.

Bob Crooks


Kid's stuff

Recently, Maryland senators voted to abolish keno. They knew, however, that a House subcommittee had already voted to kill all four House bills that would end the game.

On the same day, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to quash the legislative scholarship program, which is highly coveted by senators.

I recognize this game -- children play it all the time. It's called, "Nanny, nanny, boo-boo!"

Sandi Roberts


Customer tracking

When we purchase at certain stores -- particularly large chain electronics outlets -- they ask for our names, for a distinctive part of the phone number (at least) and often our addresses as well. To do so is "company policy."

If you insist, you can pay cash without identifying yourself. But in that case, you can't get a refund or an adjustment if the product proves defective. Even with a sales slip, you can't!

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