Letters To The Editor


December 11, 2003

Big drug firms are true victors of Medicare bill

While the Bush administration is declaring victory in enacting a prescription drug benefit for older and disabled Americans, the true victors are the drug companies ("President signs Medicare bill providing prescription benefit," Dec. 9).

They get the benefit of more than $300 billion in taxpayer money earmarked for the purchase of their drugs, accompanied by the freedom to continue to gouge Americans through drug prices and three times the cost of what the Veterans Administration, Canadians and Europeans pay.

Congress should quickly reconsider its refusal to negotiate reasonable drug prices with the drug companies.

Its constituents would welcome seeing Congress put people's health before drug companies' profits.

Pearl Lewis


The writer is the founder of the Maryland Patient Advocacy Group.

Medigap provision prohibits prudence

A little-noticed provision in the new Medicare bill prohibits the sale of any Medigap policy that would help pay drug costs after Jan. 1, 2006, when the new Medicare drug benefit becomes available ("Drug `gap' policies barred," Dec. 7).

One reason given by lawmakers is that they wanted beneficiaries to bear some of the costs since people tend to use more services when they are insulated from the costs. Silly me, I thought that insulating yourself from costs, and catastrophe, is the major reason people buy insurance.

Perhaps as a follow-up to the Medicare bill, Congress could prohibit all health insurance. But I suppose that is unlikely since Congress, and Republicans in particular, are so addicted to insurance industry and drug company campaign contributions. But such a ban would certainly help reduce cost inflation in health care.

I hope that instead of co-opting their issue, the Republicans have handed the Democrats an issue for 2004.

James K. Weston


Let Morgan return to teaching, learning

I was saddened to hear of the allegations regarding an investigation by Morgan State University of the late Del. Howard P. Rawlings and the university's compilation of a dossier on Mr. Rawlings ("State and NAACP officials decry Morgan investigation of Rawlings," Dec. 6).

However, the real injustice would be if more time, resources and energy were spent regarding this possible matter rather than making certain that the great Morgan State University is all that it should, can and must be.

If an investigation is warranted, let it be an expeditious one so that everyone can get back to educating and learning.

Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham Sr.


The writer is president of the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Morgan State earns failing grade

The issue of compiling a dossier about the late Del. Howard P. Rawlings is not one of deception but one of decency, and on that point, Morgan State University definitely earns an F ("University compiled dossier on Rawlings," Dec. 5).

McNair Taylor


Extending benefits promotes joblessness

With the economy showing signs of a strong recovery and unemployment rates falling, the GOP was absolutely correct in rejecting an extension of federal jobless benefits ("GOP rejects extending federal aid for jobless," Dec. 9).

Let's hope they don't kowtow to the Democrats' relentless insistence on extending the program every time it expires.

Continuing to hand out dollars to the unemployed can only encourage too many of them to delay looking for gainful employment and therefore cause unemployment rates to rise or at best stay constant.

Gail Householder


Hire the unemployed to fill city's potholes

The Sun's Dec. 8 "Between the Lines" column noted that President Bush suggested to the mayor that he "fill the potholes."

Perhaps Mr. Bush and our "live wire" governor could assist by getting some of the nation's 6 million unemployed people to help fill the potholes.

Herbert B. Shankroff


Quakers don't deal in airy fantasies

As executive secretary for the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), I want to thank The Sun for that tough column by Joseph DiCarlo ("Pacifist fantasies," Opinion Commentary, Dec. 2).

He says we're locked into a pacifist fantasy. So why, one may ask, do I like his column? I like it because we know that people don't throw stones at unfruitful trees. His throwing stones at our work tells us it is bearing fruit.

Mr. DiCarlo describes our ideas as "thin gruel," but I think Sun readers will find substance and hope in our proposals for real security. We promote peaceful prevention of deadly conflict, which is not just a pacifist policy. We back practical and effective policies to counter real threats to our safety and security, without giving up our freedom.

Peaceful prevention of deadly conflict finds support among many in the military here and in militaries abroad. They don't want war, either.

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