Single payer health plan saves moneyI am...


Single payer health plan saves money

I am usually in accord with columnist Robert Kuttner, but I must take issue with his Other Voices column of Sept. 28. I agree with him completely that a "single-payer" plan would reap savings in administrative costs. That said, I disagree with his belief that a single-payer system would require a massive tax hike.

The excessive administrative costs in the Clinton plan, as well as some other proposed plans, are the result of fragmentation.

It is dealing with perhaps millions of businesses, over 1,500 health insurance companies, uncounted "managed care" groupings, MO's, PPO's, etc., and the 50 states, plus D.C. and the possessions. What an administrative, bureaucratic and expensive nightmare.

It belies the fact that the U.S. has a highly mobile population. A single-payer plan could conceivably eliminate enough paper-shuffling administrative costs to negate a need for any tax increase.

Of course, the ideal plan would be to completely eliminate any and all, and I do mean all, public, private, employer-paid, employer-employee-paid, self-pay and any other plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Then an all-encompassing cradle-to-grave national health care system would be completely supported by a surtax, painlessly collected from most people by withholding, which would probably not exceed the combination premium and deductible and co-pay amounts now spent by most people for only partial coverage.

The simplest way is for everyone to have a health care card (resembling a credit card), good everywhere, which can be shown to any doctor, or run through a credit-card-like slot at any medical facility or pharmacy.

Using code numbers for each procedure or prescription, the health care provided would submit a claim by mail, fax, or computer to one central federal government computer center.

Personnel there, with great aid from computers, would determine the cost allowed for that procedure or treatment (much as insurance companies do now), or prescriptions, (a pricing standard having been agreed upon by medical/government conference) and reimburse the provider by check in the mail through direct deposit. Doctors would use a simple one-page form, while facilities and large pharmacies might have direct linkup to the central computer.

The whole thing would be backed by the insurance companies forming one huge consortium, which would sell its services to the single federal government agency. No fragmented groupings.

Mr. Kuttner further contradicts himself when, in speaking of cost control, he says of the present system ". . . the rich get better care than the poor . . ."

But he praises the Clinton plan: "People would still be free to spend their own money for enhanced coverage." In other words, just like now, ". . . the rich get better care than the poor . . ." Just like now, the rich live and the poor die.

A true national health care system would fully cover all possible medical procedures, so there would be nothing that the rich could get extra, just for being rich.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


Coward Clinton?

Well, here we go again. America's finest are sent overseas as peacemakers and are murdered and dragged through the streets as raw beef. What initially was a peace mission to feed and aid turned out to be a total act of war.

What disturbs me the most is that our soldiers are sent to these areas by a commander-in-chief who dodged his obligations to his country by not entering the service. He decided to walk around with long hair, indicating he did not believe in mortal combat.

I do not feel that he or anyone else who was a known coward has the right to send any of America's finest overseas to fight unless they also were placed in this situation.

Edmund W. Huppman Sr.


Help Sudan

The analysis by your reporter in the Oct. 7 Evening Sun indicates that Operation Restore Hope has been an unqualified success, although the Sudanese counterparts have yet to receive any of this hope which has for 10 months been at the top of the United States' agenda.

While we are the hosting nation, the U.S. is not the United Nations. So, instead of telling us what our ambassador told Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in his executive suite at U.N. Plaza or perhaps in his office in a Swiss castle in the high Alps, where is Mr. Boutros-Ghali in the paper?

The one and only leader on this planet with a nonpolitical army at his command, Mr. Boutros-Ghali has been absent from the drama unfolding in the Sudanese nation, as he has been consistently absent before. What real hope exists for the Sudanese refugees other than that represented by this man?

Either Mr. Boutros-Ghali should save the refugees who are wandering in and out of this largely geographically imprisoned country, or nations with the authority behind human rights credentials must exclude the U.N. from an effective response to the atrocities in Sudan.

When will the media expose this double standard in the desertifying region of this continent and respect the intelligence of their readers?

In addition to beefing up the Somali forces, President Clinton should discuss with this U.N. leader an immediate troop deployment to Sudan, and not send his ambassador to wherever the figurehead is closeted. Either one or both should intervene now, or else the assistance of Fidel Castro in Cuba will be needed.

This is a serious matter which is unsung because it is unfelt. That can change.

Roger Fagan


Creationism deserves equal time

David Persuitte's Oct. 4 reply to Andred Bobb's Sept. 21 letter, "Debating Origins," underscores the problem, as Mr. Persuitte put it, "with science education in this country," when the "big lie" of evolution is held by those who can't even write an ounce of truth in a short editorial.

Mr. Persuitte stated that "according to the Bible" (a phrase used more often by evolutionist atheists than by Billy Graham), "the Earth is the center of creation and is a flat, immovable disk set on pillars and covered with a solid vault into which are set mere lights that are the Sun, Moon and the stars."

He does not bother to include where in the Bible he read this. It is not there.

He also didn't understand why creationists do not object to students being taught that the Earth is a sphere and that it rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun. Again, Mr. Persuitte states, without evidence, that these facts are in conflict with the Bible.

In the book of Job, which is the earliest written book in the Bible, the author states in chapter 26, verse 7, "He [God] stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." This statement is clearly scientific and illustrates that Job in around 3500 B.C. knew the Earth did not, as Mr. Persuitte alleges the Bible states, rest on pillars.

Man, scientist and religious alike taught theories for centuries after Job that the Earth somehow rested on pillars and the Earth was flat. We now know Job and the Bible were correct.

Isaiah, in the book that bears his name, wrote in about 740 B.C., "It is he that sitteth on the circle of the earth . . ." It was not until the discovery by Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer, in 150 A.D. that the Earth was thought to be round. Although Isaiah predated Ptolemy's "finding" by about 900 years, it is Ptolemy whom modern day scientists credit with this discovery.

The fact is, neither creation nor evolution can be proven. The Bible is not a text book on science but is scientifically accurate when addressing the "natural sciences."

The fact that a majority believes in either system means very little. How would you like to have trusted the modern medical scientists of George Washington's day when doctors would drain the blood from your body to cure an illness? After all, everyone believed it worked.

We now know, based on scientific research and fact, that blood is our life line and draining it is not a good idea. If only the theorizers would have read and believed Leviticus 17:11 -- "For the life of the flesh is in the blood."

Both evolution and creation require faith and belief to accept. What creationists object to most is not that evolution is taught but the manner in which it is now being taught -- as fact and not theory. Also, why shouldn't the creationist views be given equal time?

As far as Mr. Persuitte's attempts to lump all creationists in the same barrel, as he does when referring to the radicals in the Flat Earth Society being creationists, maybe he is ignorant of the fact that one of the most infamous evolutionary humanists to ever live was none other than Adolf Hitler, whose beliefs in the evolutionary "model" became the driving force of his "master race" dogmas.

Wendell Hanks


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