Letters To The Editor

Posted: June 28, 1989

TAKE CARE OF AUTO - AND HEALTH - INSURANCE

Gov. Casey is attempting to remedy the automobile insurance crisis. Bravo! One of the problems he must deal with is medical costs. My concern is an insurance crisis also affected by medical costs - health insurance.

Since November 1987, our Blue Cross/Blue Shield costs have increased by 51 percent! We are paying $2,870 a year to insure two people. Now that Blue Shield has gotten approval for another increase, it will be close to $3,000 a year. Our Blue Shield payments increased by 17 percent only nine months ago and by 19 percent seven months prior to that. And all this from an organization that a few short years ago was in danger of losing its non- profit, tax exempt status because its profit margin was too great.

Those whose employers pay for their health insurance must realize that they too are affected. Everyone pays more for consumer goods and services to cover the additional expenditures by companies that insure their employees. Let's not forget the insured teachers, police and other public servants; the result is higher taxes.

Yes, I realize more people are requiring medical assistance and more of them are uninsured (is it any wonder?). There's also the matter of huge malpractice settlements, doctor and hospital insurance fraud and the expense of waste disposal. But something must be done now to stabilize this crisis situation.

Caps must be put on lawsuit settlements, and there must be a crackdown with severe penalties for insurance fraud. For if the cost of health insurance goes much higher, I'm afraid we'll be joining the ranks of the uninsured.

Debra R. Litecky

Moylan, Delaware County

ESOPS WORK

Robert Samuelson, in his June 15 Commentary Page article on employee stock ownership plans ("That ESOPs work is a fable"), overlooked the most important benefit that ESOPs confer upon our economy and the American worker.

The ESOP makes it possible for the retiring owner of a business to sell his company to the company's employees, rather than to some other buyer, such as a large competitor or a foreign corporation. Without the tax benefits that Congress has provided to ESOPs, such sales to employees simply would not occur. The success of Weirton Steel Corp.'s ESOP sale to its employees is not an anomaly.

There are hundreds of firms that have become very successful employee-owned and employee-controlled companies through use of ESOPs. For the hundreds of thousands of employees of such companies, the improvement in the productivity, satisfaction and meaningfulness of their work lives has been incalculable.

To repeal the tax provisions that make this possible would be a pity.

John E. Hempstead

Cherry Hill

LET'S TRY CURING BIGOTRY

What a shame there is not a magic potion to cure humankind of the bigotry and stupidity as it was so evident at last week's City Council gay pride debate. It was saddening, though not surprising, to read of Councilman Francis Rafferty's accusation that gay people have introduced the AIDS virus, of Councilman Lucian Blackwell's mistaken belief that homosexuality is a disease, of Councilman Thacher Longstreth's name-calling.

Every person who read the account of the debate was reminded that so much hatred remains so widespread. It must by recognized that gay and lesbian people are not disqualified, on the basis of their sexuality, from being necessary contributors to society. They are, in such respects, no different

from heterosexuals, the humane ones anyway.

We hope that the favorable resolution of the debate, if only by the slimmest margin, indicates the coming of a more just world and that finally the voices of bigots will no longer be the loudest voices heard.

Leslie Foster, Benjamin David

Philadelphia

APPEARANCE, REALITY

At Cheltenham High School, the President posed as a humanistic democrat. The former CIA chief is well trained in dispensing misinformation.

The kind and caring President has just vetoed the minimum-wage increase. His CIA contra forces are still engaged daily in murder, arson and sabotage in Nicaragua. U.S. money pours out bountifully to subvert the coming election in that country.

The benevolent President stands staunchly behind the death squads of El Salvador financed by U.S. taxpayers at the rate of 1.5 million daily, with 70,000 dead peasants so far.

The voice at the high school commencement is the voice of Jacob, but the hand is that of Esau.

David Perloff

AN EXPERT WORTH HEEDING

The June 19 article by staff writer Andrew Cassel was a most intelligent piece of reporting about, for a change, an intelligent commentary on a national problem, to wit, the essay by Frank Popper of Rutgers University on the status of the Plains, their abuse by American farmers and the inevitable consequences to the population of the territory. As to be expected, the Popper essay is reviled by politicians in and out of the territory as a biased opinion of one who never saw a cow, or words to that effect.

I hope Mr. Popper next takes on the water problem in the West (and elsewhere as a matter of fact), which I believe is far more critical to the nation as a whole. I can hear the outrage now, but if there's one thing we can't buy it's an act of God.

George W. Betz

Strafford

SEPTA IN TRENTON

The June 20 article by Mark Bowden (about SEPTA penalizing Trenton rail line passengers for not prepurchasing tickets) misses the point when it comes to the Trenton station.

The problem is not a broken ticket machine, but rather SEPTA's refusal to rent ticket counter space from either Amtrak or New Jersey Transit. This critical rail station is an important link to New Jersey and New York City. A little interstate cooperation would thus go a long way toward eliminating this problem for the harassed traveler who must commute across state lines.

Michael C. Petrowsky

DEMOCRACY: YOU WIN AND YOU LOSE

This is in response to George Will's column on affirmative action.

It is regrettable that Mr. Will's reasoning is so badly flawed. He fails to understand that we "liberals" are for the political process, just as he is, but when that process also has not given women and minorities a fair shake, how can it fairly apply its process to any other arena?

Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D., Ohio) is seeking legislative correction because it has taken decades in the past - precisely because of the political climate - to make any changes for those who have been out of the process. That is why our courts, a co-equal branch of government, move to correct the inequities. If laws could have been passed years ago, millions of women and minorities would have had justice done that much sooner.

One point Mr. Will and I do agree on is that a president has a right to pick his nominees, but I, unlike Mr. Will, believe that the other co-equal branch of government (at least the last time I read the Constitution) has a right and a duty to vote the nominees up or down. Many a "liberal" nominee has gone the way of Robert H. Bork under the Reagan administration, so Mr. Will's political process has worked precisely as he wished it would.

When the Senate exercises its prerogatives and it doesn't suit you, that is no time for tears, Mr. Will, but time for you to realize that the political process is working at full speed because the Senate presently is in the hands of the "liberals."

What makes our system so unique is that sometimes the George Wills of the world are happy and sometimes it's the Arline Lotmans - that's democracy.

Arline Jolles Lotman

Bala Cynwyd

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