Letters To The Editor


February 01, 2005

Democrats put added costs on users of HMOs

Surprise, surprise: HMOs are passing the 2 percent tax imposed earlier this month by the General Assembly onto their customers ("Redmer lays HMO cost rise to Democrats," Jan. 27). Alas, the net effect of an effort to curb the state's exponential increase in medical malpractice insurance premiums is to raise the cost of healthcare for businesses and their employees.

In overriding the veto by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., Democrats failed to reform a system overburdened by malpractice suits.

In so doing, they placed the economic interests of the trial attorneys squarely before those of working families.

Both nationally and locally, Democrats need to reconcile their rhetoric about providing affordable health care for all Americans with their steadfast support of the tort bar -- a special interest group that has narrowed access to physicians, while significantly increasing the cost of care.

Robert Knott


Once again we see that the Democrats in this state simply do not understand how a free market economy works.

It's a plain and simple fact of life that when you place a tax on a service that tax will be passed on to the consumers of that service. To assume otherwise is complete stupidity.

By opposing malpractice legislation that included real tort reform, the Democrats chose to stick up for their trial lawyer buddies and passed a tax on health care.

Now that the public is going to have to eat that tax, Democrats want to blame the insurance commissioner.

Sorry, Democrats -- you wanted a tax, you got a tax.

Now the citizens of this state will hold you accountable.

Rick Proctor

Bel Air

Commissioner isn't serving the public

Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. should resign or be sacked at once ("Redmer lays HMO cost rise to Democrats," Jan. 27).

He should be defending consumers and holding insurance companies in check, not leading the charge for higher rates.

Les Kurts


Blame game leaves taxpayers with bill

I agree with Dan Rodricks' column "Making health insurance for-profit creates mess" (Jan. 27). And, as a taxpayer, I see this issue as a message for elected officials of both parties on increased costs for those in HMOs.

The issue is one of fairness and how the health insurance needs of the voters are perceived as unimportant.

Those who are in the position to assure fairness are not living up to their responsibility. Their job is to serve the best interests of the citizens.

Shame on all the players in this latest political nastiness.

The actions of the insurance commissioner leave doubt that he is concerned about fairness to citizens. An order to the HMOs to pass only a portion of the cost of the HMO tax to their subscribers would have shown he had not forgotten his mission.

This issue may be foolishly seen as a fertile opportunity to gain political points, but a total disdain for the citizenry is really what is transpiring.

Geraldine Wright-Bey


Democrats' duplicity alienates the voters

If there is one thing that really raises my blood pressure, it is when our so-called Democratic leaders in the General Assembly thwart initiatives by a Republican governor and then act innocent when the fallout hits those who can ill afford it ("Redmer lays HMO cost rise to Democrats," Jan. 27).

These leaders evidently think everyone in the state of Maryland is stupid and does not pay attention. They are also the ones who are responsible for shifting voter registrations from Democrat to Republican in recent years.

So, I say to the Democrats, continue doing the things you do -- i.e., stonewalling the slots bill, passing the rising cost of physicians' insurance on to the general public, etc., all in the name of politics.

Some of us are paying attention -- some are even switching political alliances.

Eric Nelson

Havre de Grace

Street law trumps intimidation rules

Do our leaders in Annapolis really believe the witness intimidation bills now being considered will address and slow this horrid trend of violence against well-intentioned citizens ("Witness-intimidation victims urge the passage of legislation," Jan. 26)?

These proposed laws will not stop or slow the street thugs in their terror campaign against witnesses.

These intimidation tactics have proven extremely effective in keeping criminals on the streets. And these brazen outlaws live by laws written every day on the violent, drug-infested streets, not those acted upon in Annapolis.

Maybe our leaders imagine a scenario like this -- a murderer kills openly, showing little regard for human life. With no concern about who witnesses the crime, the murderer switches mindsets and suddenly stops to consider that he may forfeit his constitutional right to face his accuser if he or she decides to intimidate the witnesses.

Street law, which rewards witness intimidation and revenge against snitches, trumps Annapolis law.

Peter Shafer


Putting off huge bill for pension reform

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