Health Care ChoiceAs a Democrat, I can applaud the...


August 17, 1994

Health Care Choice

As a Democrat, I can applaud the president's desire for universal health coverage. Certainly, if we can spend billions to help the sick and dying in such Third World places as Rwanda, we should be able to help our own in a similar fashion.

On the other hand, measures now under consideration have to leave any knowledgeable person frightened about the prospects of enjoying medicine as we know it today, chiefly the right to select our medical practitioners without some government agency or rule deciding for us.

A good case in point was your article on the Aug. 10 Opinion * Commentary page captioned "A Choice of Doctors."

All of the proposals now being debated, had they been in effect as law, would have denied the toddler the good health she is now enjoying. The story is not an isolated case -- there are many stories like this being repeated all over the country, and many reported by the media.

That big, big business chief executive officers support programs proposed by Mr. Clinton is no surprise.

While they earn million-dollar salaries, and can well afford medical treatment outside the reach of the poor slobs that work for them and make possible their high incomes, these CEOs usually have special insurance coverage made possible by their corporations that are not even close to what their employees have.

Universal health care would, no doubt, bring down insurance costs for these big corporations, resulting in greater profits and hence, greater bonuses for the executives.

Not until there is a health plan that not only guarantees universal health coverage but guarantees freedom of choice of medical services and prohibits so-called cost-effective medicine, e.g., denying an 80-year-old woman a hip replacement because she might die in a year or less, this Democrat has to be recorded in opposition.

Richard L. Lelonek

NTC Baltimore

Ignored Winners

Recently the six-member U.S. team of high school students won the gold medal at the 35th International Mathematical Olympiad in Hong Kong. They swamped the Chinese and Russian teams.

All U.S. team members went to public schools. Why wasn't this featured with banner headlines and pictures with names in The Sun?

If this had been a team of athletes with muscle power, you would have given the news a big spread. However, since this was merely brain power, you chose to ignore it.

No wonder the youth of this city get the impression that muscle and general physical power is better.

Robert T. Brown


Brakes Needed

It is about time the Social Security Administration is allowed to put the brakes on abuses, as outlined in your Aug. 7 article.

This program was intended to be a means whereby working people would pay into it, have the money invested accruing interest, and be there to assist people when they retire.

It was successful. So successful in fact that over the years, beginning with Lyndon Johnson, Congress could not resist tapping it for all manner of side benefits unrelated to the original intent.

Making payments to alcoholics and drug abusers, many of whom have never paid a dime into the fund, is a slap in the face to those of us who have contributed over the years.

It is foreseen by many that the system is heading for insolvency in the next 25 to 30 years, largely because of programs like this.

There is talk of reducing benefits to the elderly, who have paid their dues, while allowing these people with self-inflicted addictions to continue to feed at the public trough.

Sen. William Cohen, R-Maine, is on the right track. I would hope our Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes would join him and represent the people of Maryland.

Bruce Murdock


Has Greed Destroyed Baseball?

I offer a solution for the baseball strike. The players don't want the owners making too much money. The owners don't want the players making too much money.

I propose a cap on players' salaries and on owners' profits. All money above and beyond that would be donated to charities.

Pat Gallagher


Have you had the misfortune of turning on your TV at noon on Sunday and hearing Boog Powell's cries of, "We didn't make that kind of money when I was playing ball?"

Well, let's take a look at when Boog was making $25,000 a year for paying baseball, four hours a day, eight months a year (with a four-month vacation).

The top blue-collar craftsmen in Baltimore were only earning $10,000 to $12,000 a year, and that was for an eight-hour day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year with a two-week vacation. That is full time, and let's face it, we have had only one full-time ballplayer in the last 50 years.

Had he worked at Sparrows Point at that time, Bethlehem Steel did not pay for transportation to and from the job, nor did it give meal money.

My question to him is: Does he really think he was a million-dollar ballplayer? Also, when Boog was making $25,000 a year, I could buy the best roast beef sandwich in town for 65 cents.

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