April 14, 2009

Bon Secours is key to the area's health

At Viva House, we have been proud neighbors of Bon Secours Hospital for 40 years ("Bon Secours seeks a lifeline," April 9).

This hospital has always been the rock of the neighborhood. Indeed, at our soup kitchen it is common to hear people say, "You can always go to Bon Secours; they won't turn you away."

Over the last four decades, many have fled the neighborhood. The library at Calhoun Street and the one at Payson Street have left. The firehouse on Casey Street is gone.

But Bon Secours did not flinch or run away. It continues to serve the poorest of the poor with dignity and grace. It is like the Samaritan who does not abandon the person beaten by robbers and left at the side of the road.

Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, always insisted that investing in the poor is the only sure way to guarantee a return on one's investment. And $5 million for Bon Secours is not too much to ask for what we have gotten from and will continue to receive from that institution.

After that sound investment is made, let's get serious about the deplorable health care system in the United States.

Let's take health care away from the insurance giants and create a single-payer system.

Brendan Walsh, Baltimore

The writer is the co-founder of Viva House, a city soup kitchen.

Single-payer plan an economic boost

The single biggest boost to small business in this country right now would be a national single-payer health system.

How many thousands of talented people would try innovative new businesses if they weren't chained to dead-end jobs for fear of losing health benefits for themselves and their families?

David Hewitt, Owings Mills

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