More DebateIt is my hope that the debates about health...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 18, 1994

More Debate

It is my hope that the debates about health care legislation go on much longer than our leaders in Congress plan.

In fact, I hope they on go long enough that the people in this country can be presented with all the facts, have a fair chance to weigh them and then make a most prudent decision.

Why is it so important for congressional leaders not to have debate drag on? Why is it also important for a few to set all the rules of debate?

I believe members of Congress think they know what is best for us -- the same politicians who think that the proposed health care plans are such a great idea they are exempting themselves from the coverage.

Richard J. Szalecki

Baltimore

Lead Hazards

I am writing in response to your Aug. 8 editorial, "Abating the Lead Problem."

You made very true and important points. However, the editorial de-emphasized the fact that every pre-1978 house or apartment should be evaluated for lead hazards. The problem is pervasive in every socio-economic neighborhood.

It is true that many lead exposures have been eliminated. This, in concert with housing inspections, has drastically reduced levels of lead poisoning.

But who wants their child to be part of the 8.9 percent that are poisoned? Lead poisoning is completely, 100 percent preventable.

A main contributor to lead poisoning remains in older housing stock. While it is true deteriorating lead-based paint is most hazardous, lead paint in any condition in any house can poison a child. This is the very reason all homes should be tested.

An inspection for lead in a house should include analysis of paint, dust, water and soil. By combining the results of a variety of tests, an evaluation of poisoning hazards can be determined.

The simple presence of lead-based paint is not an indication of a problem.

While a small paint chip can hurt a child forever, leaded dust can cause irreversible, and possibly undetected, damage. Leaded dust is continuously produced by most lead painted surfaces.

It can be relatively easy to reduce the lead hazards in a house. Aggressive cleaning, paint stabilization, maintenance and education are sometimes all that is needed.

In fact, scraping or sanding lead-based paint which is in otherwise good condition can be very hazardous.

Paul Graves

Towson

VA Mess

My father was denied admission to the new, state-of-the-art Veterans Administration Hospital on Aug. 8.

An ambulance was summoned, but then they called back and stated they would not accept him because he was "not stable."

They claimed they didn't have emergency service on weekends. This was later confirmed by a doctor speaking from the VA hospital.

My father gave up his left leg during World War II. He spent five years in VA hospitals because it took the doctors that long to figure out what to do with his injury.

Fifty years later nothing has changed with regards to the Veterans Administration. This should not happen in any administration.

P. E. Codd

Columbia

For a Non-Partisan Care Plan

The Aug. 3 article in The Sun about the bus caravan in support of health care reform gave the mistaken impression that the Alzheimer's Association was a major sponsor of the event.

This letter is an attempt to clarify the association's position.

Four million Americans suffer today with Alzheimer's disease; there are 19 million Americans in the families that care for them.

Every person who has Alzheimer's disease eventually needs full-time care. Today, the cost of that care is at least $100 billion -- most of it borne by families, because neither Medicare nor private health insurance pays for the kind of long-term health care a person with Alzheimer's requires.

While we search for effective treatments and a cure for Alzheimer's disease, we must find ways to help families who are struggling to meet the high financial and emotional costs of caring for a loved one.

Consequently, we have been advocating for a long-term care program that would provide help at home and in the community. Our goal is to support, not replace, the critical role of families in providing care.

The National Alzheimer's Association Board has endorsed a set of principles for health care reform, which included support for universal coverage, cost containment, long-term care and a commitment to research.

The association did not endorse the president's health care bill, or any other bill.

The Alzheimer's Association is strictly non-partisan in its approach to health care or any other issue under consideration by Congress. We have worked closely with both Republicans and Democrats on a wide range of issues.

Cass Naugle

Baltimore

The writer is executive director, Alzheimer's Association Baltimore/Central Md. Chapter.

Coverage of NAACP's Work Faulted

As a member of the special contribution fund board of trustees of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, I found your article about Mary E. Stansel being quick to file lawsuits -- as reprinted in the Houston Chronicle -- most interesting for what was not disclosed.

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