Health care system puts families in peril
As distressing as the plight of the Shaeffer family -- which was detailed in The Sun's article "Dropped by insurers when costs rise" (Sept. 17) -- is, even more disturbing is what the article did not state: If the Shaeffers had disclosed in their health insurance application that their 5-year-old had an undiagnosed bump on her chin, they probably would have been denied coverage anyway, and thus would find themselves in the same heartbreaking situation they are in now, facing financial calamity at the same time as they must deal with a child's grave illness.
It is astounding that in a country as wealthy as ours that has such a superior health care system, we continue with the old, tired model in which the burden for providing health insurance falls on employers, despite the fact that many small businesses and entrepreneurs can scarcely afford the exorbitant costs of insuring their few employees.
There is no logic to the premise that the right of an American to health care coverage should depend upon his or her employment situation.
We all know that the days when employees worked for the same big corporation for 40 years are gone.
In fact, in the very same section of The Sun, another article, "Adults `piggyback' on parents' insurance" (Sept. 17), stated that the percentage of employers offering health insurance is declining each year, and that the job market is "increasingly characterized by consulting, freelance and contract jobs."
Yet President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are denounced to this day for daring to even try to discuss possible solutions to this tremendous national problem.
Instead of viewing health care as a right and a responsibility to be shared by all in an equitable manner for the common good, our leaders and citizens tolerate a system that forces families such as the Shaeffers to lose their home and go into bankruptcy to obtain treatment for a little girl with cancer.
Nancy S. Spritz
Poor access to care a national disgrace
We are the only industrialized country in the world that leaves so much of its population without access to basic medical care. This is truly a disgrace ("Dropped by insurers when costs rise," Sept. 17).
Our priorities are really not where they need to be.
How can we call America the best place in the world to live when so many of our people cannot even go to the doctor when they need to?
I suggest we need to pay closer attention to what this country says it stands for -- liberty and justice for all.
Skyscraper's design isn't right for city
It is wonderful news that ARC Wheeler has acquired the land on which the McCormick spice plant once stood to build a 59-story mixed-use tower ("Site bought for skyscraper," Sept. 19).
It is hard, however, to be as excited about the pedestrian design for the building -- one that looks more like an office building in Dallas than one appropriate for condominiums and hotel rooms in one of the nation's oldest cities.
The firm designing the new building, Robert A. M. Stern Architects of New York, excels in more-traditional work; in trying to be sleek and modern, it misses the mark in its design for one of the most prominent locations in Baltimore.
We owe it to Baltimore's environment to ensure that the monuments we build today live up to the city's proud design heritage.
Rejecting extremism the key to dialogue
On Sept. 11, 2001, we saw footage of many Muslims taking to the streets to celebrate Osama bin Laden's victory.
Now many Muslims are in the streets violently protesting the pope's use of a quote critical of jihad as an evil attempt to spread the Islamic faith by the sword ("Vatican trying to ease anger," Sept. 19).
I have yet to see footage of Muslims taking to the streets to protest their peaceful religion being hijacked by radical extremists.
When this happens (or should I say if), perhaps Islam and the West can have meaningful and respectful dialogue.
Abduction makes mockery of rights
The Sun's article on the arrest in New York of a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, who was sent to a Syrian prison and tortured, failed to fully address two very important issues ("Deportation `likely' a result of bad data," Sept. 19).
The article puts the blame for his detention on "inaccurate" information from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
But it doesn't say anything about the U.S. authorities who failed to confirm this apparently shabby intelligence -- Mr. Arar has been cleared of any connections to terrorism.
Nor does it say anything about those involved in the "extraordinary rendition" who put him on the plane and delivered him to those who tortured him in Syria.
In an interview on the radio show "Democracy Now," Mr. Arar described how this experience significantly damaged his family and personal life.
Has anyone been held responsible for this crime against him and for the failure to examine faulty intelligence?