Managed care like riding on ValuJetIf William Jews, the...


July 05, 1996

Managed care like riding on ValuJet

If William Jews, the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland, truly believes his own propaganda (June 23, "Better deal for the patient") that managed care has brought tremendous advantage to the public, then I believe he would feel comfortable as a passenger on ValuJet Airlines.

Like managed care, ValuJet has brought lower fares to the public through the elimination of ''unnecessary procedures." Like ValuJet, managed care has, unfortunately, cost the public in needless suffering and loss of lives.

While Mr. Jews presents numerous statistics regarding the number of ''unnecessary'' procedures that are performed in medicine, he fails to mention the number of necessary tests, hospitalizations and consultations that are denied to medical and surgical patients by managed care.

In citing the double-digit increases in the cost of health-care premiums in recent years, Blue Shield's CEO fails to mention the many excesses and abuses by Blue Shield's own board of directors, including six- and seven-figure salaries and ''golden parachutes," the purchase of Camden Yards sky boxes, Preakness hospitality tents, winter Olympics tickets, disastrous marketing campaigns and poor overall business decisions. These ventures have previously been documented by The Sun, the Maryland legislature and Congress.

According to U.S. New and World Report, there are currently 2,200 different proposals before the legislatures of the 50 states as well as in Congress that seek to curb the abuses of managed care and otherwise large-scale corporate medicine.

The blush is off the rose and the infatuation of the public and the various state and federal legislative bodies with managed care is nearing its end. Like ValuJet, any product, including the delivery of medical care, can be made cheaper so long as people are willing to put up with inconvenience, loss of safety measures and insensitivity to human suffering. Have a nice flight.

Martin Z. Kanner, M.D.


Violence distorts American manhood

Alumni argue against making military schools co-ed because the men will no longer bond as they have previously with women present.

In the government and university endorsement of the bonding experience, upper-class students subject new entrants to mental and physical abuse for a considerable length of time; the qualified freshmen accept the constant reminders that enduring insults and pain will make them become real men of officer quality. Pat Conroy and Robert Timberg are just two of many authors who have described the humiliation and physical pain in their writings; neither appears to praise the experience.

Such endorsement of violence has shaped our concept of American manhood. Is it any wonder we suffer from an abundance of brutality?

The new Supreme Court ruling may allow us to search for a more acceptable definition of friendship.

Dorothy Siegel


Contradictory trade policies

"A" is for Arab oil, "B" is for boycott and bully (as in Washington).

I applaud Daniel Reuben Jr.'s June 6 letter regarding embargoes on Cuba and sanctions on oil. We, the public, must insist that Washington stop catering to the Cuban exile lobbyists.

Why can't this country stop imposing sanctions on foreign powers that trade with Cuba, Libya and Iran? Who are we to stand alone (with our friend, Israel) against all nations, enforcing an illegal and punishing embargo on Cuba? Why are we recanting our position on oil sales from Iran and Libya?

"C" is for contradictory. As the June 24 Sun editorial points out, the U.S. stand is an affront to international law. We are a bundle of contradictions, testing the temperature of political waters (always hot in election year).

The U.S. is losing opportunities. We private citizens must contact our Congress representatives, especially those House members who voted for a second round of secondary boycotts.

irginia Foster


Jay was wrong about Clinton and Princeton

Peter Jay was on the wrong track when he wrote that Mr. Clinton was the first incumbent president to be honored by Princeton with a degree (June 13). Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and George Bush were so honored while in office.

Mr. Clinton is, though, the first sitting president to give the commencement address. Customarily that honor is reserved for the president of the university. However, Princeton is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year and that may account for such a break in precedent.

Braxton D. Mitchell


Residents need help reviving communities

A recent Sun editorial discussed Gov. Parris Glendening's idea to renovate existing housing stock within Baltimore City instead of creating new developments that destroy farms, forests, and force the costly extensions of infrastructure away from existing roads, sewers, etc. The idea is a good one if it's implemented in a way that avoids the mistakes of recent neighborhood renewal efforts.

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