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Health Care Reform Gets Two More Opinions

Readers Report


Robert Kuttner's piece, "Pat Moynihan's blarney on health care" (Economic Viewpoint, Feb. 14), was poignant, yet disappointing. I was pleased that Senator Moynihan's concerns about self-inflicted illnesses and their impact on the current health-care "crisis" have finally been given front-line ink in your publication. His viewpoint is not, however, "pure mischief." Instead, it represents a politically gutsy attempt to challenge his Washington peers.

Unfortunately, politicians have been afraid and unwilling to confront the American people about irresponsible and unhealthy behaviors that lead to disease and illness. Hence, poor medical outcomes have driven up the cost of our current health-care system.

No doubt "social pathologies" contribute to these bad outcomes. Often, the only recourse left for the unfortunate citizens who are the victims of such pathologies is to seek shelter and comfort in expensive hospital emergency rooms and in-patient beds. As a physician, I have my doubts that ensuring "universal access" will reverse this dollar-draining trend.

Donald E. Casey Jr., M.D.

Kingman, Ariz.

Your article makes a lot of sense to this consumer. The fairest health-care plan seems to be a single-payer system, which would eliminate current problems without creating new ones. The managed-care plan I am enrolled in doesn't cover many things for me because I prefer to see a doctor not in "the network." It makes no difference that my doctor is conservative with tests and referrals. What matters is the managed-care plan's control of every aspect of my care--control I prefer not to cede to people who are financial, rather than health-care, experts.

President Clinton has made reference to the health-care plan for federal employees. It might be useful to know how and why it is effective and explore the advantages provided by a single-payer plan before jumping on the chaotic bandwagon of multiple managed-care plans.

Nan C. Dubois

New York

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