New father says St. Agnes morally rightMy...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

New father says St. Agnes morally right

My wife, Tracie, entered St. Agnes Hospital Jan. 31. She was in labor for a prolonged, 24-hour period. We were blessed with our first child.

Under present health-care insurance guidelines, Tracie would have been released the day following delivery; however, the St. Agnes Hospital policy of offering new mothers a second day of post-partum recovery allowed much needed time for Tracie to recuperate. We are very grateful to professional staff of St. Agnes.

I want to express my deep-seated concerns regarding the Health Services Cost Review Commission's assault on the policies of St. Agnes. The commission's executive director, Robert Murray, is to challenging the hospital's second-day policy. Although I understand the commission's charter of regulating Maryland's health-care industry, I find the interference to be both morally reprehensible and economically indefensible. As a practical matter, Mr. Murray's intervention indicates a callousness toward the medical needs of new mothers and runs contrary to the political trend. Currently, a revised bill in the General Assembly would codify the very policy that the commission has called into question.

Mr. Murray's assessment of the St. Agnes policy indicates a lack of understanding as to the basic economic principles that govern the health-care industry.

He views the hospital patient who is unable to benefit from the second-day stay as a victim in need of relief by government intervention. The more appropriate view would be that St. Agnes is choosing, in a limited number of instances, to reduce its fee, thereby making a moral decision with economic consequences.

This is not uncommon. Each day, corporations of all sizes, from large, multinational conglomerates to small entrepreneurs, make similar decisions. With an eye always toward the profit motive, the benefit-cost relationship must often be weighed with very tangible expenses on the one hand and less identifiable benefits on the other.

I applaud Robert E. Pezzoli, president and CEO of St. Agnes, for his moral courage and vision. He is part of a vanguard that is sweeping the health-care industry.

Stephen W. Feron

Pasadena

Simpkins acted like arrogant 'star'

The Feb. 22 article, "Simpkins parking fines hit $8,000," points out the arrogance of University of Maryland basketball player Duane Simpkins in thinking a star athlete is immune to the law and to exercising common courtesy.

Kenya Freeman, also a Maryland student and a defender of Mr. Simpkins, said athletes "have a tight schedule" and "have to get to interviews." What makes Mr. Simpkins or Ms. Freeman think that students with disabilities don't have tight schedules or interviews to go to?

In fact, since 60 percent of educated people with disabilities are unemployed, their need to be prompt for job interviews is even more crucial. Mr. Simpkins, after all, may well get a lucrative professional contract to set him up for life.

It takes individuals with disabilities (such as myself) longer to exit their cars or mobility vans and walk or roll to classes or appointments.

An athlete such as Mr. Simpkins could park a little farther away and sprint to his class. (It might help improve Maryland's fast break.) This would free a parking space for someone who truly needs it.

I suggest that Maryland officials put a "Denver boot" on any car caught parking for a second time in a space reserved for the TC disabled or, better yet, tow the car. This would cost much more than the $250 fine and really make anyone, including star athletes, have a really "tight schedule."

In the Simpkins case, where violations involved his father's cars, it might also lead to the elder Mr. Simpkins seriously discussing with Duane his responsibility to obey the law and think of others instead of just his "schedule."

Daniel S. Rogers

Baltimore

The writer is volunteer chair of the Baltimore Federal Executive Board Committee for Individuals with Disabilities.

Don't single out restaurants for tax

Christopher C. Hartman apparently believes (letter, Feb. 10) that the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) is not willing to participate in the marketing of tourism and that we are an insincere group of business people.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Greater Baltimore Committee's recommendation to enact a 1 percent tax in a "tourist district" was very crafty indeed.

I reviewed a map of this so-called "tourist district" and it looked more like a minority voting district. For some reason, it is assumed that the restaurants in this district would be the only businesses to benefit from increased tourism.

Would they be? Certainly not. Everyone benefits. Singling out the one industry for increased tax revenue is wrong.

Restaurants in Maryland supply 139,000 jobs and $390 million of the $1.6 billion collected by the Retail Sales Tax division.

Many businesses prosper when tourism marketing increases. How about real estate brokers or heating and air conditioning contractors, or even BGE?

Mr. Hartman said that the consumer at the restaurants would pay the tax, not the owner of the establishment, and that the "revenue raised would bring more business for everyone." My question is, why not share the burden instead of singling out restaurants?

I agree that Baltimore needs to market its tourist attractions. Taxing one industry in a "tourist district," however, is not the answer. Blaming RAM for the lack of marketing funds is also inappropriate.

Will P. Herbst

Ocean City

The writer is proprietor of La Hacienda restaurant in Ocean City.

Both stadiums worth the cost

I hope our legislators don't wither in front of the biggest business opportunity Maryland has ever had. It appears perfectly clear to me that stadiums in both Baltimore and Prince George's County are nothing but good for our state.

Once they are operational we can count on: 1) jobs for some of the people in Baltimore and Prince George's County who really needs jobs, 2) $9.2 million annually in state and local tax revenues from Baltimore's stadium, 3) $10.3 million annually in state and local tax revenues from Prince George's' stadium.

Most importantly, we will have the eyes of the world on Maryland every time Art Modell's and Jack Kent Cooke's teams play. We will be able to showcase two state-of-the-art facilities with the same kind of pride we have felt for Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Who knows, maybe we can score a deal with Goodyear to keep a blimp permanently tethered in Maryland.

The last item that is good for Maryland is the permanent seat licenses. These licenses give football fans the opportunity to put their money where their mouths are. The owners deserve that commitment, and so does the state. Many fans cannot afford them. I can't. But where is it written that attendance at football games is a constitutional right?

Tax dollars aren't financing the stadiums, so no citizen should expect public library-type access. I'll still get plenty of opportunities to see my team on TV while I save up for my own PSL.

Let's deliver on our 1987 commitment to bring the NFL to Baltimore, and cash-in on the Redskins bonus.

Michael Breschi

Baltimore

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