The Baltimore Sun

Everyone vulnerable to health care woes

I am disgusted by the attacks on the Frosts ("The Education of the Frost Family," Oct. 10). Who are these blogosphere pundits to judge someone else's financial situation?

Regardless of the theoretical sale value of the Frosts' house and workshop, the fact is that those properties are mostly owned by banks.

And what do these conservatives expect the family to do?

Sell the house and warehouse - then live and work where? Where would they find housing and work space at a lower cost?

As for the idea of "getting a second job," do the critics know how many hours the Frosts work already? Have any of these critics ever cared for a disabled child?

Between my business and a full-time job, I earn more income than the Frosts do. But my family's health insurance costs more than my mortgage.

If I were to lose that coverage or suffer a medical or financial setback, I could easily be one step from bankruptcy. I suspect that is true of many families in this prosperous country.

The Frost family has had its share of trouble.

They don't need to be attacked this way by people who know nothing of their lives.

Carl Aron


Those savagely criticizing the Frost family for having access to a federal health program for their catastrophically injured children should realize that they and their families are most likely but one car crash, diagnosis of terminal cancer or unexpected job loss away from being in the same situation.

Even those with the best health care insurance in the world can suddenly find themselves in financial meltdown because of unforeseen events.

This is the wealthiest country in the world.

The lack of access to health care for all is not only inexcusable but immoral.

Joan Dunn


Focus on one boy obscures real issue

The emphasis in "The Education of the Frost Family" (Oct. 10) on the controversy surrounding the eligibility of the Frost family for coverage under the federally funded State Children's Health Insurance Program is misplaced.

Graeme Frost already has gotten his benefits from the program. Nobody is suggesting that they be taken away.

It matters not whether the Frosts worked the system or their spending priorities were questionable. They did not exceed the income limits for benefits and therefore properly received them.

The issue before the country is whether to increase funding for SCHIP by $5 billion over the next five years, as President Bush has proposed, or by $35 billion, as the bill Congress passed would do.

These funding increases would expand SCHIP coverage to families even better off than the Frosts are. How much better off is the ultimate question.

At some point, far below the level of eligibility that would be funded by the $35 billion funding increase, in my view, we would begin to provide government subsidies to relatively wealthy families who can readily afford to provide for themselves but would be encouraged by the largess of the taxpayers to forgo private insurance for their children.

But it does not help resolve this matter in a rational way for the Democrats to trot out a 12-year-old irrelevant witness before Congress, or for the press to print a front-page article about an utter red herring.

Barry C. Steel


Comfortable critics should rest uneasily

The abuse some conservatives are giving to the family of Bonnie and Halsey Frost for their advocacy of a federal insurance program is unconscionable ("The Education of the Frost Family," Oct. 10)

I can only imagine that those prying into the family's finances or driving by their home are fortunate enough to enjoy good health and good insurance; they seem oblivious to the financial consequences of catastrophic injury or illness.

But comfortable as they may be, I can't imagine how the Frosts' critics sleep at night.

Louis Carlat


Public can't afford state spending spree

The state needs to rein in spending ("O'Malley says he'll call next week for session," Oct. 12).

I can't afford everything that the state wants to buy. The pace of wage increases simply does not even come close to keeping up with the unrestrained growth of government spending.

Anyone who thinks that the state isn't taxing enough is welcome to send his or her extra money to Annapolis.

Chris Miles


City principals need new planning power

It became clear to me only after reading "Teachers call for ouster of Alonso" (Oct. 10) that the proposed new contract for Baltimore teachers does not determine whether teachers will have to give up planning time.

Instead, as the article states, city schools CEO Andres Alonso "wants principals to have the authority to require teachers to spend one planning period a week collaborating with colleagues."

Thus, the new contract would empower principals to require that, at most, one of teachers' planning periods a week is used for collaboration.

I am surprised that this is not already the case, and I cannot imagine why any principal would not seek such authority.

Sandra Fink


Teachers collaborate in every school day

As a retired teacher in another state, I was shocked to read about the idea of teachers losing individual planning time to collaborative planning time ("Teachers call for ouster of Alonso," Oct. 10).

Anyone who has been involved in education knows teachers spend a great deal of time in collaboration as part of the normal teaching day.

If city schools CEO Andres Alonso wants to give teachers extra time during the day to collaborate, that's one thing.

But to suggest that teachers need scheduled collaboration time is a slap in the face to the people who dedicate their time and energy trying to give our young people the best education possible.

These people are known as teachers.

Dennis Hagan


Missing a moment to teach city history

The editorial "Hoagies tintinnabulating" (Oct. 11) was obviously meant to be humorous. But it missed an opportunity to make a serious point.

How many people know or care about Edgar Allan Poe and his writings? Do football fans even know why our team is called the Ravens?

We are failing to teach our children about our city's history and culture.

We need to encourage some pride in being a Baltimorean.

Roy Kiewe


Where's the nobility in killing Iraqis?

The Sun's article about the "Lion of Fallujah" talks about celebrating "the nobility of killing the enemy" in Iraq ("In death, 'Lion of Fallujah' still inspires," Oct. 8).

I just do not get it. Could someone explain why the Iraqi people are our enemy?

Why is it noble to kill them?

Thomas Ward


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