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News Opinion Readers Respond

Little Sisters should respect workers [Letter]

Since their arrival in Baltimore, the Little Sisters of the Poor have contributed much to the care of the elderly ("Nuns fight health law," Dec. 23). Originally, the Little Sisters financed this care by begging, as there was no government assistance. They had to supply everything for the elderly in their care.

That model changed many years ago with the advent of the federal government safety net for the low income elderly. Currently, the Little Sisters are no more poor than their fellow nuns, and the residents of their homes are no more poor than the residents of many other nursing homes receiving funds from the federal government. The big difference is that you can count on the quality of care provided and the tender loving treatment they provide their residents.

As the federal government does not provide for some amenities that we now see as one step above basic needs, the nuns have continued to beg for help. However, I am concerned by the challenge of the Little Sisters are making to the federal government health care law. What right do they have to monitor or limit the medical treatment of their employees? We are not operating in a feudal society where the employer has strict controls over the entire life of the employee.

What happened to medical privacy and freedom of conscience? I believe that the Little Sisters are displaying a lack of respect for their employees. I also believe that they should be grateful for the federal government assistance that they and their residents have been receiving for many years.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

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