Canadian model is not the best health care optionJohns...


May 28, 1999

Canadian model is not the best health care option

Johns Hopkins University Professor Vicente Navarro's letter arguing that a government-run, single-payer system is the cure for America's problem with the uninsured is short-sighted ("Poor health care at epidemic levels," May 1).

Our federal budget surplus hides the never-ending growth of budget entitlements. Mandatory spending on Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Social Security is crowding out federal discretionary spending.

Before we add another huge entitlement, a government guarantee of health care, we should acknowledge that the Canadian-style system Mr. Navarro supports has its share of problems, including rationing and long waiting lists for care.

We should acknowledge the superior medical technology available in the United States.

We should acknowledge that Canada's system has proved inadequate for many Canadians, who depend on the availability of the world's finest medical care in the United States.

The question now, as it was during the debate on the Clinton health care scheme, is whether to disrupt the health coverage the vast majority of Americans now enjoy to address the serious and growing problem of the uninsured.

The Canadian system would be unacceptable for most Americans; we need to find a better way -- one that doesn't compromise our freedom.

Congress can help by creating tax incentives that make coverage more affordble for businesses and individuals.

Credits for purchasing health insurance and increased deductibility of health insurance premiums would address the reason so many people are uninsured -- their inability to pay for coverage.

Such initiatives will allow the superior medical system we have developed to thrive, and new medical advances to be made, without denying citizens their freedom to choose.

Stephen J. Salamon Baltimore

The writer is past president of the Baltimore Health Underwriters Association.

Former welfare clients retain right to Medicaid

Giving people the opportunity to move from dependency to self-sufficiency, but making them responsible for their actions, has been the guiding principle of welfare reform in Maryland.

That's why the legislature made it part of the state's welfare reform program that Marylanders moving off public assistance people remain eligible for Medicaid health insurance for up to 12 months after they become employed.

But during the last legislative session, the advocacy community informed us that people were being dropped from the Medicaid program when they stopped receiving cash assistance ("Maryland mishandles welfare reform," May 21).

Consequently, we required the Department of Human Resources to report to the House's budget committees on the specific actions it has taken to ensure that families are aware that they may continue to qualify for Medicaid.

That report is due by Sept. 1.

Samuel I. Rosenberg Baltimore

The writer represents the 42nd District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Fees from wealthy drivers will cut traffic for everyone

As The Sun's May 19 article "Pay the toll, avoid the traffic" suggests, some people are concerned that the plan to let drivers purchase the right to use high occupancy vehicle lanes will benefit only the wealthy people who have the means to buy their way out of heavy traffic.

However, every wealthy driver paying for the "Lexus lane" is one less car fighting the rest of the traffic.

This is another example where the wealthy bear costs but everyone benefits.

Richard Spencer Towson

Only force will stop Milosevic and the Serbs

Dan Rodricks' column, "Ehrlich errs in call for bombing halt" (May 21) was right.

The only thing Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs understand is force.

Francis Barnette Ellicott City

Smart bombs, but dumb bombers?

Let's see now -- NATO bomb hits hospital and market in Nis, Yugoslavia. NATO bomb hits Chinese embassy in Belgrade. NATO bombs hit Kosovo rebels (our allies) in mountains.

If NATO is using "smart" bombs they must be using "dumb" bombers.

Gerald M. Rosenthal Pikesville

Are the "smart" bombs responsible for the killing of civilians in Yugoslavia or the insensitive actions of people who advocate and order their use?

Lawrence M. Rackson Lutherville

Raiding Social Security to fund the Balkan war

On May 23, a headline in The Sun said, "Republicans pledge to lock up funds for Social Security."

But in light of The Sun's May 7 article "House votes for $13.1 billion to expand military spending," this would seem to be a case of locking the barn door after the horse is stolen.

That story noted that the extra military funds would "come out of the Social Security trust fund and would not be subject to strict budget limits."

R. L. Lelonek Baltimore

Kids can join the Army, but can't buy guns?

Are Jack Germond and Jules Witcover ("Bad gun week for the GOP," May 24) aware that some of the same senators who voted to prevent "children" from being able to purchase guns, are advocating sending some of those same "children" into combat in Kosovo?

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