Decision on HMOs shows how medicine, society stress...


June 18, 2000

Decision on HMOs shows how medicine, society stress profit

It was refreshing to read Justice David Souter's rationale for protecting HMOs from lawsuits: "No HMO organization could survive without some incentive connecting physician reward with treatment rationing . . . There must be rationing and inducement to ration." ("Court shields HMO's efforts," June 13).

This statement tells it like it is and let us plainly see how the health system now operates. But why not extend this reasoning to other endeavors?

What the court upheld is the medical equivalent of allowing judges to take bribes. If HMO doctors can include their own profit in medical decisions, why not allow judges similar liberty?

And if, some day, sitting on a hospital gurney, Justice Souter finds himself wondering how much of the reasoning behind his medical treatment (or the lack thereof) derives from concern about him and how much from concern about the company's profits, that will be a richly deserved consequence of his own ruling.

Perhaps he can console himself that what he is experiencing is the common fate of citizens whose government, conceived to protect the individual, finds itself increasingly distorted to protect the profit and impunity of business interests.

Stephen Warres, Towson

Balto. Co.'s efforts to revive poor areas merit support

Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger is trying to improve the quality of life in the county. That's why he asked for legislative to acquire certain properties for redevelopment.

I understand the concern of citizens who live in areas identified for change.

However, until now, some of these same citizens have almost certainly wished that the government would take steps to improve their communities and encourage residents and business people to invest in their homes and businesses.

While Mr. Ruppersberger has received support from some people, others are counting noses and votes before deciding whether to work with him to accomplish what citizens and businesses have been unwilling or unable to do on their own.

Now is the time to support Mr. Ruppersberger's efforts to revitalize long-neglected communities.

Mr. Ruppersberger is doing right by taking risks. Doing what's safe has not been working for too many years.

Julius W. Lichter, Baltimore

Windows makes computers easier, more productive

The writer of the recent letter "Break the Windows, end the monopoly" (June 15) argued that Microsoft should be broken up because he could only find printers in stores for the Windows operating system.

Microsoft has made computers much easier to use and more productive.

I remember what a nightmare print drivers were before Windows. Every program had its own print drivers, they were difficult to find, and it was very difficult sharing a word processing file with someone who did not have the same print drivers installed.

And searching the Internet, it took me less than two minutes to find a wealth of information on Linux and print drivers.

If one is concerned about a lack of Linux print drivers in stores then complain to manufacturers, stores and your Linux supplier, not the Justice Department.

David Plaut, Reisterstown

U.N.'s vision of equality treats women with respect

In response to the letter "U.N.'s vision of equality is an attack on God," June 12), I note that abortions in this country as well as abroad can be decreased by providing women with access to what they really want: safe and legal methods of contraception so that they can decide if, and when, they will have children.

This means artificial as well as natural methods of family planning.

It means treating women as individuals who have the intelligence to make their own decisions about these matters.

It means accepting and respecting the differences among religions on this issue.

Bonnie Martin Mulligan, Lanham

As a fellow Catholic, I would like to congratulate the writer of "U.N.'s vision of equality is an attack on God," for managing, in just three short paragraphs, to set the Catholic Church back to the Stone Age with a chauvinistic, psuedo-macho slant on how women should be perceived.

Grafton K. Gray, Baltimore

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