Why Clinton's health plan isn't fair to...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Why Clinton's health plan isn't fair to seniors

Most of us listened Sept. 22 as President Bill Clinton stated how wonderful his health care plan would be. The president said the cost of health benefits for all Americans would be paid for through higher taxes on tobacco and gasoline. He made it sound like a great plan for everyone, including us seniors. But that is not so.

We will not have the right to choose our physicians. If we use a physician outside of the network we will pay a penalty. Health care for seniors ultimately will be rationed. If we need an operation there will be a long waiting period.

President Clinton promised that Medicare prescriptions would be free, but the truth is we will have to pay about $12 more each month in premiums. We are now paying monthly premiums of $36 and that amount increases every year.

Senior citizens know that the United States is one of the few industrialized countries in the world that does not have a comprehensive plan for national health insurance or socialized medicine. The United States is one of the few industrialized countries where medical expenses havecaused poverty.

Yes, we believe that there is a need for change. But it should not be at our expense.

Elaine Webb

Baltimore

One room school

I am writing in response to the editorial in the Sunday, Oct. 17, Sun entitled "One Room Schools One More Time."

My son attends a one room school in the White Hall area of Baltimore County called Whispering Oaks School.

Whispering Oaks has been dedicated to mixed-age instruction for years, successfully grouping children with many types of learning styles. This allows them to learn from and teach each other with the skillful and creative supervision of their teachers.

The children work cooperatively with each other, older helping younger, setting their own pace.

Mixed-age instruction is complemented by individualized instruction. What a joyous learning experience!

Whether they're out walking in the woods (rain or shine), writing in their journals, tending their rabbits, chickens and ducks or reading to each other, the children of Whispering Oaks are building self-confidence, developing the skills for academic success while appreciating the natural world. It's a school that respects and nurtures each child's unique way of learning.

All the "traditional" components of a school are present: the computers, library, desks, homework, etc. (Whispering Oaks is fully accredited by the State of Maryland.) Also present at Whispering Oaks are kids who are learning to love learning, approaching each new concept and challenge with the joy and security of knowing they can succeed.

I applaud the editorial for recognizing the one room school house as a successful and valuable method of teaching our children.

I'm elated that my son will profit so extensively from his one room school house education. What a remarkable thing it is to watch a child develop such enthusiasm for discovery and learning and feel confident as a parent that the enthusiasm will stay with him. I couldn't ask for more.

Elizabeth D'Alessio

Freeland

No outsider

Isn't it ironic that State Sen. Mary Boergers announced her campaign for governor as an "outsider"? It makes one wonder about the English language and politicians.

A 12-year veteran of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis can hardly be considered an "outsider." Co-chairing the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign in Maryland and being a delegate to the Democratic National Convention hardly seem appropriate for an "outsider."

How can someone who originally got her seat in the House of Delegates by virtue of a gubernatorial appointment be considered an "outsider"?

I find it interesting that Senator Boergers is speaking in a conciliatory tone about Baltimore City now that she is running for statewide office.

This seems to be a considerable change from the 1990 budget battle, when she said "This is really the beginning of the end for the city."

The good senator's pitch sounds too much like a politician saying what she thinks the public wants to hear. I trust the public will be smarter than that and look past such misleading characterizations to the substance of the candidates.

Julia I. Graham

Oella

Postal parking

Twice this week I saw post office vehicles parked in a handicap zone. One was parked in front of a medical building and the other was in front of a bank.

When the driver of the vehicle parked at the medical building got out I told her not to park there as someone might need the space. She told me she wouldn't be long. However, the vehicle was still there 20 minutes later when I came out from my appointment.

Are post office employees privileged persons? I believe an order should go out from the postmaster general to the effect that handicapped spaces should be respected and the parking regulations strictly obeyed by postal employees.

Sydney M. Cohen

Baltimore

Signs of the times

I was deeply troubled by Cynthia L. H. Crawley's "A picture worth a thousand tears" (Other Voices, Oct. 13), but not for the reason she intended.

Ms. Crawley complains about the insensitive nature of the placards carried by some pro-life demonstrators on Charles Street and the effect they had on her daughter.

I, however, was struck by Ms. Crawley's own lack of sensitivity in her description of the result of an abortion as "fetal skull fragments and tiny dismembered limbs."

Although I oppose abortion, I too feel that signs of this nature are in poor taste. However, we live in a country that guarantees freedom of expression, and I pray that right is never taken away, as Ms. Crawley proposes.

Ms. Crawley's response to her daughter, "Oh Sweetie, don't worry about those pictures, they aren't hurt animals. They're just pictures," stopped somewhat short of the truth. Her sentence should have ended with the words, ". . . of human beings."

Patricia G. Phebus

Baltimore

Can Russia's fallen idols give birth to democracy?

Boris Yeltsin is erasing the ignominious Communist past of Russia. Not little by little, but unceremoniously and with sweeping force.

He has set out to expunge the symbols of Communist glory. He wants to start fresh and march Russia toward democracy and a market economy.

At least, that's what he claims.

But history is not that easily eradicated. It does not live in monuments alone. Recent history especially lives in the minds and spirits of people and in the stories and poems they imagine.

Mr. Yeltsin doesn't want the Russians to be reminded of life as it used to be in Russia.

Yet all over Russia there are reminders -- fear, uncertainty, poverty and shortages of goods.

The American Civil War was a bloody and terrible phase of American history. So were the years of slavery. But as a people Americans have no other choice but to visit this past, to explore, to understand and to accept how they have come to be who they are.

Lenin is a part of how the Russians have come to be who they are -- a complacent, long suffering and fettered people.

The idols have fallen one by one: the ceremonial guard at Lenin's tomb, Lenin himself and the statues of old communist leaders. Yeltsin is performing cosmetic surgery to correct the deeper malaise and despair of Russia.

But toppling familiar traditions and leaving a vacuum in their place is the worst way to confuse, humiliate and hurt a people. Despondent people do not make good nation builders.

Yeltsin has displayed the instincts of a dictator. His reflexive reactions to the "Battle of Moscow" are those of a despot, untempered by reason.

For the moment, he may have the hard-liners muzzled. But if Russia is to be a democracy, and if elections are to be real and not illusory, then a viable opposition should be allowed to sprout.

Yeltsin is going to find this very difficult to do. Since allowing dissent was catastrophic, having his own way has become an absolute necessity.

In the wake of the "Battle of Moscow" Russia is a troubled and dispirited nation, and Yeltsin is a hardened and ruthless man.

That is a combination that is not conducive to the birth of democracy.

Usha Nellore

Bel Air

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