Fair Health CostsI am responding to Michael J. Hurd's...


July 09, 1993

Fair Health Costs

I am responding to Michael J. Hurd's letter of June 8, "Government Raises Health Cost."

Although I agree with Mr. Hurd's basic premise that government intervention creates more problems than it ever solves, I take exception to the content of his letter.

Mr. Hurd was making a comparison between doctors, novelists, painters and inventors. There are libraries, museums and manufacturing corporations that take care of the cost for those that cannot afford to purchase the merchandise.

He also gives the impression that doctors are deserving of more consideration than others because of their skills.

I thought that to be rather arrogant and prejudiced.

What about the skills of firemen, policemen and teachers? They put their lives on the line for us.

Maybe they should create individual associations that operate like the American Medical Association. They could go to each community and, just like doctors, charge whatever the community could afford.

It's a shame that firemen, policemen and teachers are not free " . . . to compete without price controls or any government intervention . . . "

Mr. Hurd's opinion is very weak. There are federal, state, county and city agencies that take care of our community needs out of necessity.

I do not know the answer to our health care problem. I do know that medical costs must be taken seriously by everyone and, most important, by our doctors.

Hopefully, a more equitable policy will be instituted. Our children, the poor and the old deserve that much.

Lucille Bradstock-Siegel


Squeezing Taxes

Retired middle-income people are being severely hurt by the Clinton economic plan.

The Sun reported June 25 that households in the income range of $50,000 to $75,000 will have an average tax increase of $216. That is not very much if the money will truly reduce the deficit.

But the higher tax on Social Security payments will result in an additional tax in the range of $1,000 for a retired couple in that income range.

Retired people cannot recoup a loss of this magnitude. Pensions from former employers do not increase as the cost of living rises.

Income from investments purchased with savings while working has been steadily declining due to the low interest rates. The newly increased tax on corporate profits will also restrict income from stock dividends.

Why should retired middle-income people be squeezed so very much more than anyone else in proportion to their income?

Richard K. Eberts


A Matter of Style

Whatever faults President Clinton might have, stubbornness is not one of them. He realized a mistake had been made in the nomination of Lani Guinier as the top Justice Department official for civil rights and quickly withdrew her name.

Dr. Guiner's rationale is that her writings were exercises in academic writing, not her personally espoused views.

That defense lacks credibility.

Theo Lippman's June 10 column simplifies her erudition into the most common terms and adds to the justification for the withdrawal of the nomination.

Next to Lippman's column was a letter from Samuel L. Banks, written in his usual college professor style of exploring the far reaches of the English language. His responsibilities in the Baltimore City school system are misdirected.

He could better serve by having Superintendent Walter Amprey transfer him to the English department, where teachers would be directed by him to have high school students really learn to speak the English language -- a major weakness in the present school system.

Richard Lelonek


School Sports

I take exception to Tim Baker's point that playing in band (as an example) prepares a student for a career better than athletics because of the opportunity to perform under pressure (Opinion * Commentary, June 7).

Admittedly, I haven't been to many high school concerts, but I would wager that the percentage of kids who actually get to perform solos in public is far smaller than that of wrestlers who go to the mat, or sprinters who brave the 400-meter --, or lacrosse goalies who attempt save after save. These are not mindless endeavors -- they are tremendous mental and physical challenges.

As with any academic or non-academic activity the lesson is the same: perseverance and discipline bring reward and self-confidence.

Mr. Baker might argue that a good grade is more important than a varsity letter on a resume, which is true; however, having both is better, and a varsity letter is better than having neither.

And there are even further advantages to athletics -- a physically fit body is an asset to a healthy mind, and establishing good fitness habits early will be beneficial throughout one's life. I have a hard time finding a reason to condemn school athletics in any of this.

Notwithstanding parents and coaches who have their own fantasy-driven agendas, few students play sports with a resolute expectation of making a living at it, and not many students play sports for the macho image.

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