Advertisement
News

Managed care like riding on ValuJetIf William...

Managed care like riding on ValuJet

If William Jews, the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland, truly believes his own propaganda (June 23, "Better deal for the patient") that managed care has brought tremendous advantage to the public, then I believe he would feel comfortable as a passenger on ValuJet Airlines.

Advertisement

Like managed care, ValuJet has brought lower fares to the public through the elimination of "unnecessary procedures." Like ValuJet, managed care has, unfortunately, cost the public in needless suffering and loss of lives.

While Mr. Jews presents numerous statistics regarding the number of "unnecessary" procedures that are performed in medicine, he fails to mention the number of necessary tests, hospitalizations and consultations that are denied to medical and surgical patients by managed care.

Advertisement

In citing the double-digit increases in the cost of health-care premiums in recent years, Blue Shield's CEO fails to mention the many excesses and abuses by Blue Shield's own board of directors, including six- and seven-figure salaries and "golden parachutes," the purchase of Camden Yards sky boxes, Preakness hospitality tents, winter Olympics tickets, disastrous marketing campaigns and poor overall business decisions. These ventures have previously been documented by The Sun, the Maryland legislature and Congress.

According to U.S. New and World Report, there are currently 2,200 different proposals before the legislatures of the 50 states as well as in Congress that seek to curb the abuses of managed care and otherwise large-scale corporate medicine.

The blush is off the rose and the infatuation of the public and the various state and federal legislative bodies with managed care is nearing its end. Like ValuJet, any product, including the delivery of medical care, can be made cheaper so long as people are willing to put up with inconvenience, loss of safety measures and insensitivity to human suffering. Have a nice flight.

Martin Z. Kanner, M.D.

Pikesville

Violence distorts American manhood

Alumni argue against making military schools co-ed because the men will no longer bond as they have previously with women present.

In the government and university endorsement of the bonding experience, upper-class students subject new entrants to mental and physical abuse for a considerable length of time; the qualified freshmen accept the constant reminders that enduring insults and pain will make them become real men of officer quality. Pat Conroy and Robert Timberg are just two of many authors who have described the humiliation and physical pain in their writings; neither appears to praise the experience.

Advertisement

Such endorsement of violence has shaped our concept of American manhood. Is it any wonder we suffer from an abundance of brutality?

The new Supreme Court ruling may allow us to search for a more acceptable definition of friendship.

Dorothy Siegel

Baltimore

Contradictory trade policies

"A" is for Arab oil, "B" is for boycott and bully (as in Washington).

Advertisement

I applaud Daniel Reuben Jr.'s June 6 letter regarding embargoes on Cuba and sanctions on oil. We, the public, must insist that Washington stop catering to the Cuban exile lobbyists.

Why can't this country stop imposing sanctions on foreign powers that trade with Cuba, Libya and Iran? Who are we to stand alone (with our friend, Israel) against all nations, enforcing an illegal and punishing embargo on Cuba? Why are we recanting our position on oil sales from Iran and Libya?

"C" is for contradictory. As the June 24 Sun editorial points out, the U.S. stand is an affront to international law. We are a bundle of contradictions, testing the temperature of political waters (always hot in election year).

The U.S. is losing opportunities. We private citizens must contact our Congress representatives, especially those House members who voted for a second round of secondary boycotts.

irginia Foster

Baltimore

Advertisement

Jay was wrong about Clinton and Princeton

Peter Jay was on the wrong track when he wrote that Mr. Clinton was the first incumbent president to be honored by Princeton with a degree (June 13). Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and George Bush were so honored while in office.

Mr. Clinton is, though, the first sitting president to give the commencement address. Customarily that honor is reserved for the president of the university. However, Princeton is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year and that may account for such a break in precedent.

Braxton D. Mitchell

Ruxton

Residents need help reviving communities

Advertisement

A recent Sun editorial discussed Gov. Parris Glendening's idea to renovate existing housing stock within Baltimore City instead of creating new developments that destroy farms, forests, and force the costly extensions of infrastructure away from existing roads, sewers, etc. The idea is a good one if it's implemented in a way that avoids the mistakes of recent neighborhood renewal efforts.

Past efforts by the state seem to have assumed that a successful renewal of marginal neighborhoods will result simply

by providing low-cost loans or other incentives to encourage individual home ownership. Officials in charge of creating these programs need to realize that their commitment only begins once the new residents move in.

I live in one such neighborhood and can attest to the fact that there is only so much that home owners can do to halt the drug dealing, prostitution, burglary, assault, public drunkenness, and decay of neighborhoods properties. In this case, the state created a loosely managed program to sell off properties, then walked away from any effective additional support to the home owners, expecting us to assume all responsibility for progress from that point forward.

We have made numerous improvements: neighborhood associations, property improvements, private security patrols, cleaner streets and alleys, dealing with uncooperative liquor store owners. However, there are economic and organizational limits to what a group of first-time homebuyers can accomplish.

Any program that sets out to "renew" an inner-city neighborhood needs a long-term plan and resources available over the course of the renewal period. This period may extend for several years past the property closing dates.

Advertisement

For example, a source of grants may be needed to purchase neighborhood trash cans, to gate off alleys that serve as expressways for drug dealers and to fund initial increases in police patrols.

Why not sponsor a clearinghouse to share organizational techniques and put new residents and their neighborhood associations in contact with others who have faced these problems before? A source of low-cost legal advice would be very useful. These are all easily within the scope of a minimally funded program that could provide enormous return on investment, but they are currently not available to neighborhoods like mine.

Jerry Harold

Baltimore

Pub Date: 7/05/96


Advertisement