Single Payer BetterSeveral recent articles may have left...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 23, 1993

Single Payer Better

Several recent articles may have left readers with the %J impression that all current opposition to the President Clinton's proposed health care reform comes from the political right or those that think this managed competition plan will give people too much and providers and the insurance industry too little.

This impression is very far from the truth!

Citizens Action may have abandoned the fight for a single payer, comprehensive, universal national health care plan, but many other organizations and millions of Americans have not.

There is a very simple reason: The proposed managed competition plan cannot provide comprehensive quality health care to all Americans.

The Clinton plan does not eliminate any of the factors that currently sky rocket health care cost in the U.S.A.

We currently waste 30 cents of every health care dollar on unnecessary expenses, including insurance overhead, high administrative cost (this will increase under the Clinton plan) and provider competition for the wealthiest patients.

In contrast, both Congress' General Accounting Office and the Congressional Budget Office, along with Physicians for a National Health Program and many others, have long shown that we can give comprehensive, universal health care to all Americans if we move to a single payer system and eliminate nearly 30 percent of the waste in the system.

Until just a few weeks ago the Clinton plan was to provide a "basic," not a "comprehensive" benefit package. Basic it will be in the end.

Clinton's people have started to promise the sky but will leave it to the private sector to tell the American people in near future that there will be no money to pay for it.

The insurance industry is trying to make profits. If you limit premiums, they will ge their profits from giving less service for less money. Who will ensure that patients are actually given all the services they are entitled to get?

Those of us who are fighting for single payer national health care have not rolled over and played dead. You will continue to hear from us.

Christine F. Hohmann, Ph.D.

Baltimore

The writer is co-chair of the Maryland chapter of Physicians for a National Health Care Program.

Labor of Love

I would like to commend Isaac Rehert for his gentle and touching article on the Opinion * Commentary page Sept. 9 ("A Garden's Death Diminishes Our Lives").

I imagine that we who love nature and gardens feel a kinship to Mr. Rehert's need to find out what happened. Since caring for a garden is truly a labor of love, the world has, indeed, in Mr. Rehert's words, been diminished.

Virginia W. Hoefner

Baltimore

Threat to Baltimore County

Victor Posner and his gaggle of high-priced "experts" will descend on Baltimore County this Oct. 13-14 and 19-20. They will make three arguments to the county Board of Appeals which, if accepted, would end all zoning to protect Baltimore City's water supply.

Mr. Posner's Security Management Corp. claims that rural land which protects the city's water supply can be developed to the highest permissible housing density. The density he envisions is comparable to that of Newark, N.J.

Baltimore County has approximately 23,000 acres zoned to protect the water supply for about 1.5 million residents of the city and the county.

Mr. Posner believes these acres can be converted to 320,000 new homes in northern Baltimore County, and the public water supply would be better protected. His company wants to build only 3,000 of these homes now.

In order to make this proposition more attractive to county officials, he hired planners, architects, engineers and financial analysts to come up with a development plan that would sell.

That is Mr. Posner's second argument, which is actually a well-calculated "inducement" for the county to approve his rezoning request -- "compatible with the character of existing development in the area and . . . a benefit to all the citizens of Baltimore County."

His development plan, called Colvista, is so good it deserves to be built -- but not on watershed protection land.

Mr. Posner's financial analysts at Legg Mason Realty Group calculate the net benefit of new taxes to the county from Colvista would be $20 million. This might be a reasonable estimate if Colvista was built where the roads, schools, sewerage, water and other services already existed. Owings Mills, for example.

The land where Mr. Posner wants to put Colvista is called the Towson Nurseries Watershed Protection Property, on the southeast corner of York and Phoenix Roads, just north of Hunt Valley.

The taxpayer-borne costs of building Colvista at this site would include some fair portion of about $130 million in new roads (70 percent paid for by citizens from other counties), almost $40 million for Colvista's fair share of new waste water treatment facilities, $7 million for new school facilities, etc.

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