Think before leaping into health careThe president and...

the Forum

August 02, 1994

Think before leaping into health care

The president and Congress are rushing to pass within the next few weeks a health plan that will put a trillion-dollar program into government hands. It is estimated to be a takeover of one-seventh of the economy.

Many politicians call it a must-pass bill even though they don't know how to pay for it.

Put aside for now the debate over cost, employer mandates, mental health coverage, insurance reform, etc. The basic question is: How can we believe that the government will successfully run a life-and-death program with some 250 million participants?

The food stamp program serves 28 million people. The Department of Agriculture recently reported to Congress that 8.29 percent of benefits paid in 1993 (that's $1.7 billion) went to people who were ineligible. At the same time, needy people were denied benefits totaling $559 million because of mistakes.

If the federal government can't get it right in food assistance for 28 million people, it's crazy to think it will get health services right for 250 million.

We're talking here about an enormous, slow-footed bureaucracy bumbling about with your kid's asthma, your neighbor's kidney dialysis, my cataract operation.

We Americans have excellent health care -- which needs careful and well-thought-out reform. Let's keep what is good and fix what is wrong.

I am writing to President Clinton and Congress, asking them to approach health care as "must-think," not "must-pass," legislation.

Right now, no health care bill is better than a bad health care bill.

Ann Hall Marshall

Emmitsburg

O. J. coverage

I am writing in reference to the recent live O. J. Simpson TV coverage during the day on local stations WMAR, WJZ and WBAL.

I cannot seem to understand why the three major networks feel compelled to interrupt already scheduled programming to broadcast these court proceedings.

I realized that they want to make as much money as possible, but honestly, I don't know one person who can or has been able to sit and watch hours and hours of court proceedings. Meanwhile, they are interrupting daytime shows that many people enjoy.

Why are the Simpson court proceedings more important than the previously scheduled programming or any other murder case?

If TV insists on broadcasting the Simpson case, in order to be consistent it should broadcast every murder case that is pending. This case is being over-dramatized by the media.

I thought that the "special news reports" were meant for emergencies. The Simpson case fits neither of these two categories.

If the networks insist on broadcasting these live proceedings, my family and I will cease viewing all programming on WMAR, WJZ and WBAL.

I am sure that many other people will agree with me on this issue, regardless of whether or not they normally watch daytime programming. Please, just report the news of the Simpson case during the scheduled news time.

Michelle Bolton

Towson

In his own right

It strikes me as odd that the press and other news media refer to the slain Ronald Goldman as Nicole Brown Simpson's friend.

His death was no less a loss or tragedy than was hers. He was a person in his own right and deserves to be addressed as such.

J. Mullinix

Baltimore

That's the ticket

When the public announcement was made by The Sun during the week of July 25 that ticket writing by law enforcement officers was reduced during the last year, the response was predictable.

But the past excuses are no longer in vogue or justifiable. That is, the excuse for gasoline conservation and highway safety in terms of higher accident rates and fatalities do not ring true any longer.

So now "unnamed groups" have come forward to insist that the state police enforce the 55- mile-per-hour speed limit. As indicated in the article, state police personnel have been redeployed in the past year to areas of greater concern. Now, with revenues affected, troopers must return to their prime function: assist the coffers of Maryland.

If the numbers reported were a true indicator of state police activity, then a summons for a traffic violation is written approximately every two minutes of every day of the year.

Good work, guys! Especially with the additional volume of traffic on the roads, please slow them down.

Don't just keep the traffic moving. Oh, no. Go back to the phenomenal tactic of the rolling roadblock. Set up phony police cars. Do everything imaginable to trap the average motorist into going from A to B in the longest amount of time.

And don't forget, you are attempting to catch the 10 to 15 percent of all drivers that are estimated to speed.

It is very apparent that the state police are efficient at what they do. Neither the governor's yacht nor his home has had any attempts of attack. Additionally, the State Fair is well protected because the troopers use that familiar tactic of "cluster copping" on both York and Timonium Roads. Keep up the good work!

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