Health system in Canada a model for U.S.
I am writing to express great disappointment in your editorial, "Presidency on the line" (Jan. 29). You very accurately noted that President Bush, in his State of the Union message, spurned the "pay or play" plan for national health insurance in favor of a tax credit plan. You also correctly quoted the president as saying that Americans will reject "a nationalizing system which will restrict patient choice in picking a doctor and force the government to ration services arbitrarily."
But you then commit an error of fact in commenting that "Actually, he was describing a Canadian-style approach fostered by only a minority of Democrats . . ."
The Canadian national health insurance system is a single-payer approach to health-care financing. People are free to select their own health-care providers and change those providers at will. In fact, there is greater freedom of choice of provider in Canada than we have in this country, with the proliferation of health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations and other forms of managed care.
Further, a Canadian-style single-payer system does not lead to arbitrary rationing of medical services. Talk about arbitrary limitation of services ' we already have 37 million Americans with no health insurance! Canada has chosen to devote a more limited percent of its gross national product to health care than we have. It has under-invested in health-care services and medical technology; we have over-invested.
We in this country have not spent our dollars wisely in the administration of health-care financing. A frightening percent of our health-care premiums go to insurance company administrative costs. The actual administrative cost of insurers can easily run up to 40 percent of premium for individual plans.
Albert P. Cohen
We have forgotten who we are. We have lost our sense of wonder and connectedness. We have degraded the Earth and fellow creatures, and we have nowhere else to go.
If we are to realistically address our problems, be they environmental or social, educational or economic, and enter a new era of creativity, we must commit to the development of a global perspective and approach supported by global institutions.
War and peace
In response to the "The farce of war" by Peggy Cook (Forum, Jan. 29), I wonder whether Cook knows that it takes at least two parties to originate a conflict, and that some of our unresolved disputes go back to the beginning of recorded history. I have heard that war is a bunch of mistakes, and whoever makes the least mistakes wins.
Saddam Hussein had several months to correct his mistake, and look what happened. I would like to know what Cook thinks the situation would be if we had not had the courage to confront him.
Call in the Corps
In regard to the Jan. 22 story on planned repairs to the Lake Roland dam, I have three objections. First, the price is $7 million. Second, the repairs as described are cosmetic, not structural. Finally, the lake would be dry for a year and a half.
An alternative plan would be to pull the Corps of Engineers off the city-built-on-a-sandbar project and give the corps the job. The corps would drain the lake, demolish the old dam, build a new one and start refilling in about two weeks.
McKenny W. Egerton Jr.
It is my conviction that if the sand dunes on Ocean City's beach had been in place and stabilized three years ago, only a small percentage of the dune line would have been wiped out during this year's Jan. 4 storm, forcing a $12.4 million replenishment.
The dune that was built and planted with dune grass nearly three years ago in the block between 91st Street and 92nd Street remains largely intact because it had time to be stablized with the dune grass.
The first news that caught my eye one morning recently was an item about how the congressional watchdogs of our national finances replaced the old, carpet-covered floors in three House elevators with elegant marble at a cost of $6,000 per elevator. The story recalled the recent rhubarb of overdrafts at the members' bank and the history of unpaid bills at their restaurant.
In defense of the carpet spending, a government spokesman reminded people that this was their Capitol and they should take pride in it.
He is right, of course. I'm just a dutiful, overburdened taxpayer. Let my duly elected representatives make grandiose gestures while they publicly agonize over the necessity of my economic sacrifice to reduce the federal deficit.
Made is U.S.A.
The media have been bashing President Bush for the current state of the economy and the U.S. trade deficit with Japan in autos. The Baltimore Sun's 1992 eighth annual auto sho supplement bashed by voiding out the U.S. auto industry.
In fact, the supplement accepted the advertising dollars of the U.S. manufacturers but never gave them a call by way of a photograph or text. Of the total of 28 pages, foreign automobiles received seven full pages of free text and photographs vs. zero for the American cars.
So who has a right to bash others for our economic state?
Frank X. Gallagher