Mikulski's CarI was absolutely volcanic to see The...


June 30, 1993

Mikulski's Car

I was absolutely volcanic to see The Baltimore Sun report inaccurately (June 28) that I own a foreign-made luxury car.

Let's set the record straight. My current car is a Mercury Sable -- made in America, assembled in Georgia by the United Auto Workers and purchased in Dundalk.

I have, in fact, never owned a foreign car -- the two cars I owned previously were American-made Chevrolets.

I live my politics, and have a unblemished legislative record and a strong personal commitment to "Buy American."

A glance at that record will reveal that I have steadfastly supported American workers and American products.

Barbara A. Mikulski


The writer is a United States senator from Maryland.

Hospital Revenues

The May 20 front page story by Patricia Meisol challenging the effectiveness of the state's hospital cost-control system in ensuring Maryland hospitals' efficiency . . . completely ignores the role that hospital trustees play in overseeing hospital expenditures. Every Maryland hospital is governored by a board of trustees, comprised of community representatives, committed to meeting the needs of their communities and to making rational financial decisions to ensure their hospital's ability to meet those needs.

The article also failed to balance the statement that ''despite success at controlling costs, hospital revenues in the decade still rose 89.9 percent.'' While that is in fact true, this increase can be put into perspective when you consider that the cost of buying an apple has risen 88 percent in that time, the purchase of an airline ticket has increased 128 percent and the cost of a college education during that same period increased 172 percent.

The article also failed to mention that the U.S. average increase in hospital revenues grew by 222 percent during the same period that Maryland's hospital revenues grew only 90 percent. In fact, Maryland also enjoyed the lowest hospital expenditure growth of all 50 states during that time.

One section of the article, without attribution, also said that Maryland could save millions if hospitals operated at capacity. I dispute the accuracy of these savings and would argue that it is not feasible to operate a hospital ''at capacity'' due to the nature of health care delivery, which requires having beds and staff on call and ready when needed.

However, there is no question that health care delivery is changing and will continue to do so. Hospitals are evolving to meet the changes in their communities' needs. They are reducing their delivery of inpatient care and services and moving toward expanded outpatient services. They are changing their emphasis from restoring health to maintaining it. Hospitals in Maryland also recognize their role in keeping the cost of health care affordable.

The Maryland Hospital Association strongly endorses the appropriateness of public accountability and scrutiny of our hospitals and strongly supports The Sun's mission to do so. We ask only for a fair representation of the facts when they are presented.

Calvin M. Pierson


The writer is the president of the Maryland Hospital Association.

Timely Editorial

"Amen!" to your June 11 editorial, "New Tack Needed in Racism Battle."

Like most readers, I'll be the first to support aggressive action against discrimination. It was needed 20 or 30 years ago and may still be needed from time to time in the future.

However, the elimination of much overt racism since the 1950s is measurable. It really is time for a new strategy and supporting tactics.

Otherwise interest by the public will fade, credibility questioned will rise and general support will turn apathetic. At least it will with me.

A timely editorial. Thanks.

James B. Golden


Aiding Religions

It was with no small amount of trepidation that I read of the Supreme Court's ruling which allows government-paid teaching assistants to give help to parochial school students. (The Sun, July 19).

The five justices who voted for this travesty can decorate their decision with whatever window-dressing they choose -- but the bottom line is that it is a slap in the face at the constitutional provisions for separation of church and state. As dissenting Justice Harry Blackmun was quoted as saying. ''Every single gesture of this teacher would be suffused with religious significance.''

What will be next? Prayer returning to the public schools? Forced Bible readings?

Prayer is already encroaching in many Maryland graduation ceremonies around this time -- in total opposition to what should be the law of the land. In other states I've lived in, the offending schools would have been shut down or sued, or both.

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