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Sooner or later single payer plan will...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sooner or later single payer plan will win

Whenever single payer universal health care is mentioned by our obfuscatory press and media, it is nearly always described as "socialized medicine." It is astonishing how many Americans even know of its existence.

Yet Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has called single payer "the most efficient of all" plans, and Sen. Dave Durenberger, R-Minn., admits that we'll not achieve universal coverage this year "unless we go to a single payer system."

Single payer is the only reform alternative for which President Clinton has expressed support. He told a wire service reporter March 18 that he would sign a single payer bill if it passed.

It's the only plan on the table that saves money on administrative costs ($100 billion annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office), that actually generates a surplus and that includes long-term care as part of the basic benefits package.

The Canadian-style single payer bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., was approved by a House Education and Labor subcommittee and cleared the full committee June 23, but one wouldn't know about it from the press.

"Socialized medicine?" Most doctors in Canada work for themselves, and everyone there can choose his or her own doctor.

Most informed Americans support Canadian-style single payer health care, an inconvenient fact for the pro-insurance-profits right wing, not to mention the bleatings of talk shows of the Ron Smith and Rush Limbaugh ilk.

Sooner or later, single-payer will win.

Gerald B. Shargel

Reisterstown

Common sense

An item under the Regional Briefs heading in your July 4 edition was timely. A few candidates are running on platforms to reduce the size of government and cut out senseless waste. I would like to hear their comments on one of the 126 new laws that took effect on July 1.

The new solution to the car theft problem would be funny it if were not so ridiculous.

Are we really going to spend "about $2 million dollars a year for auto theft prevention programs"? A 13-member council will decide who gets grants. In other words, there will be posters, spot radio and TV adds and the like to tell us how to keep our cars from being stolen.

This logic holds that the cause of thefts are dumb car-owners and that all you have to do is be smart enough to foil the thieves.

Why not just outlaw cars? Then the problem will go away just like the gun problem went away when "Saturday night specials" were outlawed.

Is there anyone capable of bringing common sense back to government?

Paul C. McCusker

Reisterstown

Out of touch

As an avid reader of The Forum, I would like to add my views to recent remarks on Social Security.

I agree that Social Security meets most of the needs it was originally meant to meet. But the disability is not being met in a time period that allows those applying to get the help they need when they really need it most.

Being a Marylander from birth, with all my family and friends still in this state, I know first-hand of too many people using all their savings and getting destitute before they received disability (if they received it at all). These people have worked 16-18 hours a day for 37-40 years, paid into the system and have to wait up to three years to get the benefits they have earned.

Do those in charge of Social Security, with their huge salaries and bonuses, have any idea what it's like to all of a sudden be without a paycheck at a time when medical expenses are at their highest? I don't think so.

B. Cowan

Glen Rock, Pa.

Haiti fumbling

The more I watch the Clinton administration's almost daily changes in Haiti policy, the more I become convinced that, with friends like our president, these unfortunate people don't need any enemies.

During the 1992 campaign, Mr. Clinton deplored as inhuman the Bush administration's practice of turning back boatloads (and overloads) of refugees.

When he took office, he continued the practice.

The next step was to interdict the boatloads of people for screening at sea and admit only political refugees and to sponsor United Nations economic sanctions that are causing untold hardship to most Haitians while the military oppressors are unaffected.

I defy anybody to cite a case in which sanctions changed national policy.

After more changes in refugee management had failed, the administration's latest fumble is to promise "safe haven" in other Latin American nations to refugees picked up at sea and admit only those issued visas at the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince.

What happens when other Caribbean nations won't take any more refugees even if we pay the bills?

All Americans deplore the way the military regime in Haiti is treating its citizenry, but this country has no valid national interest in Haiti.

The idea of an invasion is dangerous and ludicrous. What is happening there is none of our business. We should leave it alone.

When this is sorted out, the U.S. will be regarded as a bully. We'll have made more enemies than friends, and the next administration will be stuck with the result.

Hopefully it will care about foreign affairs and include somebody with some expertise in that area.

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

Waste of time

It isn't bad enough that we already have hundreds of highly trained police officers wasting their guns and badges enforcing a 55 mph speed limit on roads that are designed to accommodate 75 mph.

Now we will have even more wasted on the newest "menace" to our society -- ticket scalpers.

I know Peter Angelos said he would hire private security officers. But everyone they catch will have to be turned over to a real cop, who could be fighting real crime on the streets or the light rail.

Dave Reich

Timonium

Incalculable harm

With teachers still up in arms about impending layoffs, one has to wonder about the rationale that motivated Baltimore School Superintendent Walter G. Amprey to mail 10,000 letters to the entire staff warning of future discharges.

It was enought to scare the bejabbers out of each and everyone of the 10,000 recipients.

It turns out, however, that the number of personnel affected is approximately 360, or about 3 1/2 percent of the total. The mailing and clerical costs were a needless extravagance. The harm to teacher morale: incalculable.

Abner Kaplan

Baltimore

Educate, don't suspend, pupils

Because your newspaper seems unable to explain suspension rates in Maryland public schools, it offers such vague reasons as varying discipline standards among parents and "cultural differences" (editorial, June 21).

Perhaps the school system should provide all parents with behavior rules to be observed at schools, so there won't be any misunderstanding how students are expected to act, at least at school.

I always thought that suspension was a technique used to solve a problem and not merely employed to "exact punishment."

Suspension is a solution. Discipline by parents is the punishment. The school merely returns unruly kids to their parents for a little work.

But in this day and age many parents follow the easiest path. They either abuse their children or offer no discipline at all.

Thus, we end up with psychologically damaged children or youngsters who adhere to no rules.

I think we are gradually getting beyond the second reason -- cultural differences. As more and more diverse groups become assimilated into the melting pot, this argument increasingly fails to hold water.

Obviously, "School systems aren't court systems." But when those attending school are unable to respect their peers' right to learn, schools must respond.

Americans love to show off. We thrive on attention, whether it's sports, clothes, cars, girl/boy friends. And unless we receive it, we frequently act up, both as children and adults.

Finally, as The Baltimore Sun has yet to realize, the public schools' "core mission" is not to "develop students," but to educate them. Whether or not they want to be educated is the responsibility of the home and not the school.

D. Bush

Columbia

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