Patient should pay for extra careIn reference to the Jan...


February 16, 1996

Patient should pay for extra care

In reference to the Jan. 28 letter, "Insurance firms value profits more than babies," I would like to say that as a member of a group insurance plan I have followed the debate surrounding early hospital discharge of new mothers and babies with great interest. While I understand the desirability of keeping postpartum women in the hospital longer than 24 hours, I also recognize the need to cut costs. There is, however, a solution. Let the patient pay for the extra day out of pocket.

Even though I understand the desire of Dr. Steven Dannenfelser, who wrote the earlier letter, to keep new moms in the hospital a day or two longer, he must recognize that a major force driving the epidemic of corporate downsizing is the escalating cost of medical benefits.

Recently I lost a tooth and had the option of getting a bridge or having an implant. The bridge would necessitate cutting down two perfectly good teeth, while an implant wouldn't. Unfortunately, my dental policy does not cover implants as the carrier considers the procedure experimental, even after many decades of success.

The cost of a bridge and the cost of an implant are nearly identical. Had I opted for a bridge, my insurance would have paid just about everything, but by choosing the implant, which I deemed superior, it will instead cost me about six weeks of salary after taxes.

Fortunately, we still have medical choices, if we are willing to assume some of the expense. If a new mother thinks an extra day in the hospital is in the vital interest of herself and her infant, why shouldn't she pay for it herself? Asking group insurance to reimburse everything makes medical benefits skyrocket and encourages employers to find more and more ways to cut precious jobs.

Rose Ellen Heid


Don't count plane with fuel costs

The description of the ''cost'' of Hillary Clinton's use of an Air Force jet for her promotional book tour (news story, Feb. 7) is misleading. It confuses fixed and incremental costs.

The $2,890 per hour figure includes expenses such as the amortization of the plane and the salary of the pilots. In fact, these outlays would be in place whether Mrs. Clinton was using the plane or not.

The real ''cost'' of the plane for taxpayers allocable to her should be for incremental expenses such as fuel, landing fees, etc. My guess is that this would be well below half of the more provocative figure you report.

Charles C. Baum


Hope NFL stadium provides local jobs

Thank you for the insightful Feb. 6 article by William L. Jews, "The case for a downtown football stadium." As a Baltimore resident, I am concerned about the economic impact that the new stadium would have on inner-city residents. I am also concerned with how the new venture would be financed.

To resolve my questions, I drafted letters to my City Council representatives for their opinions on the stadium issue. Much to my delight, I stumbled across Mr. Jews' well-written and researched commentary. Mr. Jews made it clear that no tax dollars would be used for construction of the stadium. Moreover, the Maryland Stadium Authority will combine cash on hand, revenue bonds and a portion of the proposed personal seat license fees to underwrite the construction cost of the new stadium. In addition, Mr. Jews noted, revenues from a series of special sports lotteries will cover the stadium authority's debt service cost.

Mr. Jews' commentary was clear on how the venture would be financed, but I would have hoped that Baltimore residents would truly reap some of the economic benefits associated with the building of a new stadium. I would hope that some of those 1,400 full-time jobs suggested by Mr. Jews will not bypass inner-city residents.

Sure, the prestige and national exposure that goes along with being one of the elite NFL cities is of incalculable benefit. But let us not forget about the thousands of intelligent, able-bodied inner-city men and women who are in search of an opportunity to create better lives for themselves.

Louis S. Butler Jr.


Steve Forbes won't be indebted

We seem to have an interesting political development. One can, apparently, buy the presidency or buy the president.

If I were a Republican, and I give thanks every day that I am not, I think I would vote for Steve Forbes. By spending his own money, he is not answerable to every special interest political action committee and mega-industry that can donate $5,000 or bundle $100,000 for a president that will `be grateful and look out for their interests` after the election.

Hopefully, Mr. Forbes will be grateful to the American people and look out for our interests. Of course, the Democratic Party had better understand this, too. This country belongs to the people. Elected officials work for us, and we can be very temperamental employers.

Barbara H. Johnson


Warehouse ethic strikes again

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