Health Security ActThe American people need and want real...

the Forum

June 24, 1994

Health Security Act

The American people need and want real health care reform, and that can only happen if Congress passes the Health Security Act.

Some representatives in Congress say they are for health care reform to please their constituents, then hide behind legislation that does nothing to provide universal coverage or provide real cost containment.

During the next year, 20 percent of the population will lose their coverage for some period of time. If we are to have real health security, it must be insurance that can never be taken away.

The Health Security Act is the only plan that builds upon the employer-based system of private insurance, guaranteeing universal, comprehensive and affordable coverage. It is time for Congress to act responsibly and give the American people real health security.

Gerald Gingrich

Hampstead

Absurd idea

Let's cheer Attorney General Joe Curran and his sue-the-cigarette-companies idea. If you can make the cigarette companies pay for what their customers have done, who knows where we can take this thing?

Kentucky Fried Chicken ought to be next -- they sell the greasiest fried chicken around. It causes all kinds of clogged arteries, heart attacks and intestinal problems, not to mention the problems for people who are overweight. Or how about Land-O'-Lakes?

There's really no end to this. How about Hershey? Most of us admit an addiction to chocolate. Or Coca Cola or Pepsi? There are thousands of people addicted to caffeine. I guess we'll have to make that a joint suit with some coffee manufacturer.

We can't forget the alcohol manufacturers. More violence and death is caused by alcohol than any other product.

With cigarettes, at least, it takes years of abuse to cause a smoker problems. But with alcohol you can have your first drink today and die tonight. It's quick.

If you count up the cost from cirrhosis of the liver and other alcohol-related syndromes -- lost work, abused spouses, auto accidents -- the list for alcohol is almost endless.

Yes, Mr. Curran's really onto something. It fits right in jailing parents when their kids skip school or break curfew, or suing record companies when someone kills while listening to Snoop Doggy Dogg.

We're bringing up today's kids with an eye toward the future, because if we can keep this up, pretty soon no one will be considered responsible for their actions.

Lynda Case Lambert

Baltimore

City crisis

Now that the Baltimore City Council has solved the minor problems of the city (lousy school system, high crime, insurance and tax rates, middle class flight), I see it is moving on the really important work of stopping the resale (even at face value) of unneeded Oriole tickets anywhere near the ballpark (unless, of course, by the Orioles themselves, who can stick you with any "service fee" they feel like).

Now that they have solved this problem, they can move on to fire hydrant colors and political judicial manipulation.

Jeff Sattler

Baltimore

Violence

It is interesting that some of the people who are critical of Jimmy Carter for trying negotiations with North Korea, who object to consensus building, who object to any kind of control on weapons, and who advocate tougher and tougher reactions to crime and violence are the same people who decry violence in our streets and complain about the spread of violence, and claim to be for "family values."

We can't have it both ways.

Alfred Buls

Baltimore

Die early, pay less

Our representatives in Congress are desperately trying to get a health care plan through before election time.

President Clinton has promised to veto any plan that includes free choice. He wants universal coverage that puts health care in the hands of the federal government -- "managed care," where every American will receive a "standard package" that provides no choice of doctors except those in your package.

The government will decide which plans are offered and if and when you need treatment. If someone needs dialysis or bypass surgery but is unlikely to live beyond five years after the operation, he or she may have to compete against someone with a longer life expectancy.

Which one of us would want to be "weeded out" for the cost benefit of the country? President Clinton himself answered a question asked by Tom Brokaw by saying there are a lot of extra costs in medical care during the last stages of life; therefore more Americans should sign living wills because that is "one way to weed them out."

How blunt! But the point of a living will is to give the signer autonomy over medical treatment, not a way to die early and save money for a fiscally strapped government.

Alice L. Graham Kohlman

Baltimore

Patterson ranks well against other schools

Beauty is in the mind of the beholder, but reality is in the mind of the statistician.

I would like to present some facts printed in The Evening Sun on Nov. 18 about the Maryland Functional Test given to 11th grade pupils in Baltimore City.

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