Profits drive sympathy out of health careSurely I was not...

LETTERS

September 05, 1997

Profits drive sympathy out of health care

Surely I was not the only person on who found M. William Salganik's Aug. 15 piece concerning the Blue Cross second-quarter profits infuriating.

Vice President Mark Chaney explains exactly how to increase profit by 42 percent: Restrict or limit care; move patients to more profitable plans; shift the risk to the providers and hospitals and raise your rates.

It is a fact that health care is expensive to deliver. Care is provided by professional persons at all levels, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and administrators.

The very things that define the human element of caring and compassion add significantly to the costs. By insurance industry standards, they are not cost-effective. So payment is denied and this "saved" money becomes profit.

We have allowed the insurance industry to squeeze the compassion out of our health care system. Compassionate, sympathetic, humane care has been sold to fund dividends and retirement accounts.

Jeremy Weiner

Owings Mills

Diana was one of the greats

Among the great ladies of the 20th century, Princess Diana and Eleanor Roosevelt were shining examples.

They lit candles instead of cursing the darkness.

Emil Antos

Baltimore

Why I decided to work to rule

As a member of the Baltimore Teachers Union, I will abide by the union's call for "work to rule." We have been without a contract for more than a year.

However, I must disagree with my union's reasoning for such a call. The reason it cites for this action is the absence of an increase in pay.

The reason why I will work to rule is class size. Having a minimum of 40 in a class is a recipe for mediocre learning.

A city teacher's evaluation will be based, in part, on students' performance on standardized tests. No extra money in a teacher's pocket will change the amount of quality time he can spend with an individual student. No extra money will supply book material, desks and chairs.

Increase salary, yes. But decrease class size first.

Myles Hoenig

Baltimore

Blue laws archaic -- and unconstitutional

I can't believe that allowing people to sell cars on Sunday is taking as much time, debate, and legal wrangling as it seems to be. Your editorial of Aug. 29 ("Blue law blues") said the blue laws no longer make sense, philosophically or economically. But the editorial made no mention of the key issue that the blue laws have never been constitutional.

The blue laws are one of many unconstitutional enactments of religious practice as laws, left over from a time when Christians were a powerful enough majority that they could flagrantly ignore the First Amendment and force others to live by their practices.

Individual Christian business owners wanting to keep their businesses closed on Sundays may do so. But who put them in charge of all the businesses in Maryland?

Why is it that the Old World Deli is prevented from selling its gourmet collection of beers on Sunday, the Christian sabbath day? If they want to sell or not sell beer on their own sabbath, or on any day of the year, that should be their choice, not one dictated by Christian legislators from more than 200 years ago.

Lifting the blue laws should be not done just for a few car dealers with enough economic clout, but for all the citizens of Maryland.

Carl Aron

Catonsville

Driving with lights can save lives

E. J. Kearney's Aug. 31 letter, "Driving with lights on confuses funeral lines," while well intended, makes little sense.

As one who drives the highways on a daily basis, I recognize that many vehicles, particularly gray and some brown ones, are difficult to see in certain lighting and weather conditions.

The practice of using headlights any time the vehicle ignition is on is an excellent, well-thought-out, safety measure.

The federal government has mandated installation of daylight running lights in all new automobiles and light trucks beginning with the 1999 model year. Saturn sedans and some other General Motors vehicles have had them as far back as the 1995 models. Other manufacturers are quickly falling in line.

It costs nothing and it makes sense to to take advantage of this easy safety measure that can postpone a few funerals, perhaps mine.

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

Broadway Pier's rec uses missed

Your Aug. 31 article erroneously characterized the principal filming location of the TV show "Homicide" as an "abandoned recreation pier." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Far from being an "abandoned" structure and another example of urban blight, the Broadway Pier is a valuable commodity that is sorely missed by the residents who used to enjoy its enhancements.

Community leaders have requested that following the termination of the lease between "Homicide" and the city, control of the pier be returned to constituent communities. While "Homicide" has been a successful production, we welcome the day when the communities of the Southeastern District again will be able to use the pier in a manner befitting the needs of its residents.

Robert Schulte

Baltimore

Pub Date: 9/05/97

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