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The Baltimore Sun

Health fraud bill deserved defeat

The Baltimore Sun's editorial "The defrauders win" (March 27) unfairly criticized state Sens. Nathaniel J. McFadden, Catherine E. Pugh and Nathaniel Exum along with the majority of members of the Maryland Senate who rightly voted to reject legislation that would have increased the number of lawsuits against Maryland health care providers.

The so-called False Health Claims Act would not have rooted out Medicaid fraud or provided a windfall of revenue to the state treasury.

There is no evidence that other states that have enacted similar statutes recover more money from Medicaid fraud as a result. The extra $11 million the bill's proponents said the state would collect next year as a result of this bill was always an illusion.

Under this bill, health care providers would have incurred higher legal costs, faced multiple lawsuits and have been subjected to duplicative penalties for the same allegedly wrongful act.

The only winner would have been the trial lawyers.

Given the current shortage of doctors in Maryland and the rising cost of health care, the last thing we need is more lawsuits against health care providers.

We thank the Maryland Senate for rejecting this misguided legislation that would have driven up health care costs.

Kathy Snyder, Annapolis

The writer is president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Glad to see Obama engage the public

I write to express my disappointment in the tone of Friday's article on President Barack Obama's tactics to promote his budget ("Some Democrats balk at while House tactics," March 27).

Since when is prompting public participation in the formation of policy a strong-arm political tactic?

It seems to me that some conservative Democrats are afraid of an engaged and informed citizenry - the very foundation of a functioning democracy.

But I applaud the Obama administration for reaching out to the people and encouraging them to express their views to their elected officials.

It's about time we had a White House that aims to give voice to average Americans rather than pull the wool over their eyes.

Sarah Dimattina, Baltimore

Ending executions is only real reform

We're tinkering and tinkering. But the death penalty cannot be tinkered with ("Death penalty reform advances," March 27). It cannot be fixed. It is permanently broken.

It is too capricious, too arbitrary and too selective, and even if many people want to deny this, it is racist.

The only way to "fix" the death penalty is to join the rest of the civilized world and abolish it completely and forever.

Gerald Ben Shargel, Baltimore

Use public funds for public schools

The letter criticizing the proposed tax credit scheme for state aid to faith-based private schools was right on the mark ("No tax credit boost for private schools," March 27)

This indirect aid to private schools would ultimately come from the state treasury and thus from taxpayers' pockets, making it harder for our public schools to get adequate support.

Millions of voters in 25 statewide referenda from coast to coast have rejected all forms of public aid to faith-based schools (twice in Maryland in the 1970s) by an average margin of two to one.

Voters and taxpayers oppose using public funds to directly or indirectly aid private schools that generally practice forms of selectivity and discrimination we would not accept in public schools.

Lawmakers should serve all the public, not sectarian special interests.

Edd Doerr, Silver Spring

The writer is president of Americans for Religious Liberty.

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