Paisley PasseThe International Herald Tribune on Oct. 21...


November 16, 1994

Paisley Passe

The International Herald Tribune on Oct. 21 reprinted your Oct. 17 editorial ("Truce Tango in Northern Ireland").

The point of your piece was clear, and yet confusing: Is it possible anyone in your office can in his wildest imaginings consider Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist Party a player in the current (or future) peace moves in Northern Ireland? Apparently so, or you would have edited the item.

Paisley is a man who has passed his "use by" date. He has been written off by John Major, the main Northern Ireland Unionist parties and the pragmatic Northern Ireland Alliance Party. Unlike Yasser Arafat, he is an unsuccessful representative of the people.

Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein), on the other hand, is rightly being given credit along with John Hume (Social Democratic and Labor Party) for bringing the "hard men" into the democratic process.

Neither man should be mentioned on the same level as Ian Paisley, who had nothing to do with the loyalist paramilitaries' cease-fire.

`If this be peace, make the most of it." But keep the record straight while reporting it.

Jeanette F. Dugan Huber

Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

Report Awry

I wanted to point out factual errors contained in your Oct. 9 article, "Maryland's hospital costs go awry," and specifically the misleading opening paragraph regarding "angioplasty" at Prince George's Hospital Center.

You cited our hospital as being "almost $9,000 more" for heart angioplasty than at Franklin Square Hospital, citing in your chart an average bill at Prince George's of $13,454, while at Franklin Square it was $4,492.

Franklin Square does not perform heart angioplasty, nor do five of the other hospitals listed in the article. I would suggest this is the result of miscoding of these cases, but it also demonstrates the tremendous complexity of addressing the issue of health care costs.

At a minimum, though, your reporter should have made an effort to validate the accuracy of the data.

Charges for hospital services are regulated by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, which has a long tradition of controlling hospital costs in Maryland.

Since 1970, the commission has limited hospital cost increases by over $9 billion less what the national average increase would have been. Maryland's cost per case is 11 percent below the national average.

Every segment of health care is challenged with achieving greater cost efficiencies. Yet we are also challenged with rendering services to any patient that presents without regard to that individual's insurance coverage or ability to pay.

Responding to inaccurate reporting only makes it more difficult to balance these sometimes contradictory challenges.

Allan E. Atzrott


The writer is president, Prince George's Hospital Center.

'Manipulating' Kids

Yes, Andrew Ratner was manipulated, and so is his son. Children are easily manipulated by shows, commercials and merchandise fads. Unfortunately, the parents who rush out and wait in line to buy $37 toys reinforce that manipulation.

I sometimes buy my 5- and 7-year-olds what they want, but more often I say, "Yes, wouldn't that be fun to have." Or, "It sure looks neat. Too bad it costs too much."

Kids are very accepting of these answers,because you've validated their desires and opinions.

My kids are normal. They can be as stubborn and unreasonable as any, but they are smart enough to know that they can't have everything they want.

Parents need to give their kids credit for being able to accept explanations and limits. If you're not comfortable with your children watching the Power Rangers or other violent kids's shows, explain why and say, "I'm sorry, but we can't watch this in our house anymore." I did, and my children accepted easily.

At least find out what your kids are so crazy about. Some parents will be surprised to find out that "Power Rangers" is not a cartoon.

I want my children to make their own decisions, but when everywhere we turn we see Power Ranger merchandise, then I need to step in and help them.

When it comes down to it, I'd rather I was the manipulator of my children. Isn't that what we've been doing since they were infants -- manipulating their environment to allow them to gently grow and learn, healthy and safe?

Lisa Mathis


Banning Guns

This is a response to the article about gun control, authored by "faculty members of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health" (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 26).

Not knowing what constitutes a faculty member of a School of Public Health, but inferring that these people are being presented as doctors, scientists or educators, I wonder why they want to treat the symptom and not the disease?

Furthermore, it is my observation over the years that this has been an issue that zealots tend to cite false or speciously arrived at statistics to support their view. I have heard so many different numbers for the same statistical items that I barely am willing to believe what I see with my own eyes.

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