Control over Shock-Trauma should shift
The March 10 editorial in The Evening Sun contained significant inaccuracies.
It is not the provision of pre-hospital emergency medical care that needs fixing, as you state. For many years this service has been very successfully delivered by both volunteer and career providers, whose units have been operated and paid for locally, as are all fire and rescue services.
Individual providers are trained and certified by agencies of the state, First Responders and Emergency Medical Technicians-Ambulance by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services. Cardiac Rescue Technicians and Emergency Medical Technicians-Paramedic (a U.S. Department of Transportation designed standard) are examined and certified by the Maryland Board of Physician Quality Assurance, which is also responsible for the certification of all medical doctors in Maryland.
Indeed, it is the University of Maryland Medical System and the University of Maryland at Baltimore and their minions who have sought to subvert this internationally acclaimed system to satisfy their own financial aspirations.
We support HB1222 and SB686, with the amendments proposed by the Maryland State Fire and Emergency Services Coalition. These amendments will remove the Emergency Medical Service, including the R Adams Cowley Shock-Trauma Center, from the direct control of UMMS and UMAB, but would not preclude a fair contractual relationship, similar to many others UMMS currently has, such as with other hospitals and institutions.
Enactment of the bills before the legislature, but only with these amendments, is urgently needed. Your editorial position renders the citizens of Maryland a material disservice, and is a gratuitous insult to the many dedicated men and women, both career and volunteer, who give their time, talent and sometimes even their health and lives in the service of those citizens.
Rosemary S. Chapman
The writer is president of the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen's Association.
Oriole President Larry Lucchino and Assistant General Manager Frank Robinson blasted Marge Schott for making racist remarks.
Yet when Fred Ulman, Oriole scout, made derogatory comments about Latin players, who was the first to defend him? None other then Lucchino and Robinson. Talk about being a hypocrite!
There is no defense for making repugnant remarks about others' race. Mr. Ulman must be disciplined. A shrug of the shoulders is not enough.
John C. Zaruba
Rep. Pete Stark, chairman of the House health subcommittee, says, "We've waited since 1965 to expand federal health programs, a year or two more won't make any difference."
Try telling this to the thousands of U.S. citizens who are losing their life savings and their homes to inflated medical costs.
I speak for all the uninsured people in America when I say to Representative Stark: Walk a mile in our shoes. We have waited long enough.
Elmer G. Poe
Isn't it amusing to watch Mayor Kurt Schmoke, State's Attorney Stuart Simms and Police Commissioner Edward Woods squirm after being dressed down in the report by the special grand jury? It is especially amusing to watch them denouncing the grand jury as amateurish.
This is not the case. None of the three has any use for the factual findings of this grand jury because it doesn't serve to advance their careers.
The grand jury report proves to the public that these men and the offices they represent are not doing what they were appointed to do. It speaks ever so loudly the truth, especially when it isn't an election year.
I was very happy when the nauseating election campaign came to an end. All the real and substantive issues were carefully suppressed; only trivia got air play.
After only a month in office, we have definite proof that the vast majority of Americans were totally insane in electing Clinton president. So for better or worse, America has a baby-booming, saxophone-honking Democrat in the Oval Office.
City leaders must lower car insurance rates
Auto insurance rates have been outpacing inflation for some 20 years, and for 20 years state after state and city after city has tried to get its rates lowered. For some 20 years, nothing has succeeded through legislation or the courts.
Rather than repeat ad infinitum efforts which have universally failed in the past, the City Wide Insurance Coalition (CWIC) offers an entirely new tack -- the creation of a non-profit, policy-holder controlled co-op which will sell insurance throughout the state, at cost.
Both the $52,000 feasibility study and Mayor Kurt Schmoke's own commission acknowledged that our plan could work -- and save an average of $275 per car the very first year for Baltimore drivers.
With 178 organizations in our ever growing coalition, it should be absolutely clear to the mayor and even the least intelligent councilperson that the overwhelming majority of their constituents want them to facilitate funding the research and development study needed to create the co-op. (CWIC will repay the city for the outlays for these two studies after our first fiscal year of operation.)
Since mid-August, when the mayor announced that he was short-changing the study by $60,000, the City Council (while pretending to help raise the money) has concentrated on one impotent diversion after another.
First it was uncritical support of the mayor's effort through the General Assembly, to convince the other counties to increase their own auto insurance rates in order to reduce Baltimore's. Fat chance!
Then it was a resolution asking the state Human Relations Commission to declare territorial rating to be racially discriminatory. This resolution was introduced unanimously. That means it will pass unanimously. Instead of doing so, the council wasted time with a public hearing, and now they are going to waste more time with a march.
If they ever get around to actually passing the resolution and contacting the HRC, it won't make any difference anyway because the HRC has no legislative teeth. All it can do is recommend that the General Assembly equalize rates -- through raising the rates in the majority of counties!
As far as the HRC taking it to court -- that's a fantasy. In 1975, before its funding was gutted and its staff was cut to the bone, the HRC initiated a suit charging Equitable Insurance Co. with sexual discrimination against women in its insurance ratings. Today, 18 years later, its suit is still festering. Insurance industry lawyers seem able to create endless delays.
If the HRC even had the personnel to begin another suit, it is likely that 10 or 20 years down the road it would still be unresolved.
Why waste the time and money? Big money at that?
As if those City Council efforts weren't nutty enough, at the March 8, 1993, council meeting Councilpersons Rikki Spector, Iris Reeves, Paula Johnson Branch, Sheila Dixon, Perry Sfikas, Melvin Stukes, Nicholas D'Adamo, John Cain and President Mary Pat Clarke introduced Bill 502 to urge "the General Assembly to seriously consider a system of 'Pay-at-the-Pump' auto insurance for . . . Maryland."
If such auto insurance were to come into being where gasoline would be taxed for insurance at about 25 cents per gallon, most drivers living in the Washington suburbs would buy their gas in Washington. Drivers in Western Maryland would buy their gas in West Virginia or Pennsylvania. Eastern Shore drivers would have easy access to cheaper gas in Delaware or Virginia.
That leaves only one high-density area in the entire state where drivers would have no place to escape from the higher gas prices -- metropolitan Baltimore!
In their efforts to rush to judgment with anything and everything which hasn't and won't work, rather than pursue CWIC's solution, these fools in the City Council suspended the rules and within five minutes unanimously passed the resolution which would effectively have Baltimore area drivers even further subsidize drivers in the rest of the state.
Whose side are these bozos on anyway?
A. Robert Kaufman
The writer is the president of the City Wide Insurance Coalition.