Workers insurance gets unfair review in flawed articleThe...

Letters to the Editor

November 29, 1998

Workers insurance gets unfair review in flawed article

The article "Despite firm's problems, state may extend managed-care deal" (Nov. 23) regarding Injured Workers Insurance Fund's (IWIF) managed-care program is seriously flawed, unfair to the people involved and does a disservice to the Maryland business community.

It is flawed, from my perspective as a member of the commission appointed by former Gov. William Donald Schaefer to review the operations and recommend changes to improve the efficiency of what was then called the Maryland State Accident Fund.

Every member of that commission agreed that the fund should be allowed to conduct business in the same manner as private insurance companies to provide workers compensation in Maryland. To accomplish this, changes in the law were recommended and enacted to release the fund from the kind of restrictions that The Sun's article suggests have been disregarded.

The article is unfair because few readers know anything about the operations of IWIF and, therefore, would not understand that it is not a typical state agency. As a state-created company to provide workers compensation in a competitive market, IWIF cannot and should not be expected to negotiate service agreements in the same manner as traditional state agencies that use taxpayers' money to provide services.

The article is a disservice because IWIF provides an essential, cost-effective product to Maryland employers. Businesses in industries such as coal mining and port-related activities could not operate without the protection provided by IWIF.

No insurance provider could succeed in Maryland's competitive market, where rates have been declining, if it had to operate like a government agency.

Just reading Walter F. Roche's version of how the managed care service agreement in question was developed, it doesn't appear to be inconsistent with the way other insurers might have approached the same situation.

What's more, no one is denying that the managed-care service is working, providing better medical care and more timely response to the needs of injured workers.

Christopher B. Costello


The writer is business community representative of the Maryland Workers Compensation Oversight Committee.

Police take right approach to speeders on Route 100

I was pleased to read that Howard County police officers take seriously the notion that the opening of a new section of Route 100 will be considered by many to be a speedway ("Road's name, not its speed limit, is 100," Nov. 25).

It was very disheartening, however, to read the reactions of drivers, quoted in the article, who were issued tickets for speeding. One driver expected to be given the "chance to adjust" to the new road, as if 55 mph there is fundamentally different from 55 mph anywhere else she has driven (she was clocked at 72 mph).

But even more frightening was reading the cavalier attitude of the 25-year-old ticketed for driving 79 mph, citing his past success in avoiding points on his driving record by paying double fines. If only risk could be removed in that way.

The drivers mentioned in the article would do well to consider the words of the police officer who explained the reasoning behind the heavy enforcement on the highway's first day open: Without it, "somebody will get killed."

Certainly, the police were hoping to prevent the irate drivers they stopped from being one of those who will inevitably be injured or killed, as well as drivers like me.

Carolyn Slivinski

Ellicott City

I applaud and commend the Howard County police for their efforts on the newly opened stretch of Route 100.

As aggressive drivers plague those of us who are mindful of our driving and the consequences of other's irresponsible behavior, I would say shame on those who feel that excessive speeding is justified for any reason.

Shelley Chait


Report of anti-Semitism among blacks is inaccurate

The article "Anti-Jewish views found more in blacks" (Nov. 24) lacks credibility. Because the story quotes some percentages and uses the name of Louis Farrakhan does not make it legitimate.

Black people do not separate whites from Jews and as a whole have not been privy to that history that causes anyone to hate another race of people so vehemently.

You should retract your false conclusion and apologize to all your readers for such racially driven verbiage.

Vernon Gundy


Television industry needs Newton Minow to police it

How does the Federal Communications Commission let the networks get away with the trash they are airing? Where is Newton Minow when we really need him?

After 25 years of employment in the program department of a local TV station, I just cannot believe the double entendres and the foul language.

Irene Morganstein


Starr following mandate to investigate wrongdoing

Kenneth Starr is no sex policeman. His responsibility was to investigate and document what has become a long trail of alleged lies, devious responses and immoral actions.

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