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Tort Reform May Be Moving Ahead, But It Has A Ways To Go

Although U.S. District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack's ruling finally brings the beginning of fairness and sense to tort reform, it does nothing to punish a system that has been out of control for years ("A break for the defense," Legal Affairs, Nov. 7). Courts at both the state and federal level need to not only revisit the hundreds of phony injury claims but mandate a cash bond be placed in escrow by plaintiff firms for past cases that may be in question. This, as well as criminal prosecution of these plaintiff firms if found in breach of ethical standards, could finally bring some sanity to the courts.

Kevin C. Kenney


"This man wants to heal health care" (Special Report, Oct. 31), on David Brailer's work to establish a National Health Information Network, was excellent in providing details on the many aspects of medicine that this network would touch. The negative aspects mentioned in the article -- reduction of care options, privacy concerns, practitioner backlash, and patients paying more of their medical bills -- sound scarier than what the reality can be. All of the concerns voiced in this article can be addressed and resolved.

Better utilization of health-care technology is one of the biggest opportunities in our global economy. The reduction of costs through this type of quality improvement process allows for more investment capital in new technologies as well as the reduction of cost to the end users, paving the way for more participants in health-care programs.

Kris Johnson

Granite Bay, Calif.

David Brailer's plan really would save lives and billions of dollars. He left out one important factor, however: Centralizing of patients' files could bring an additional 10% reduction in the cost of health care.

Now a well person at age 83, I have one primary-care physician -- and from time to time I visit 10 other specialists, laboratories, urgent-care facilities, and hospital offices. At each office I am asked for a detailed history of my health -- at some, a second time as they update computer files. In addition, every office has a room full of manila folders filled with patient information. The cost of my time is not included in the health-care equation, but certainly the cost of each support person is.

Ray O. Sims

Roseburg, Ore.

Thank you for giving Rosa Parks the recognition she deserves ("What business owes Rosa Parks," Editorials, Nov. 7). I'm white and now retired, but to see her courage was and is impressive.

Mary L. Mongeon

Newmarket, N.H.

Instead of holding a celebration for Marlboro's 50th birthday, Philip Morris (MO) should be holding a memorial service ("Leader of the packs," Marketing, Oct. 31). According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, smoking kills 440,000 people in the U.S. each year. Marlboro's market share of 40% means that this brand of cigarettes alone is responsible for the deaths of 176,000 people annually. I am disappointed that BusinessWeek chose not to include this information. Additional restrictions on tobacco advertising and marketing are sorely needed.

Joseph A. Califano Jr.

Chairman and President

National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse

New York

Editor's note: The writer is former Secretary of Health, Education & Welfare.

In "The lion, the witch, and the franchise" (Entertainment, Nov. 7), Ronald Grover frets that the movie "comes with a ready-made marketing tinderbox: The series is a lightly disguised Christian allegory about four children who find a magical wardrobe and are transported to an eternal world" where "the Christ-like lion Aslan dies to protect a child but then is resurrected." Peter Sealey, a marketing professor at the University of California at Berkeley, says that if Walt Disney Co. (DIS) "markets it too heavily as a Christian film, others may take a walk."

That's why Sealey is a professor, and Disney is Disney. Don't I recall a Mel Gibson who "risked" his own money on something called The Passion of the Christ? The only way this movie will flop is if it fails to adhere to its author C.S. Lewis' "passionate" pen. This one is in the bank.

Jeff Parrack

Fort Worth

Dell is strong, growing, and profitable in China ("Dell may have to reboot in China," News: Analysis & Commentary, Nov. 7). In the quarter just ended, our product shipments increased more than 45% year over years. Our volumes of mobile notebook computers doubled. Overall, Dell China revenue jumped nearly 30%. While Dell already ranks No. 3 in total share -- and No. 2 in servers -- there remains tremendous opportunity for us in China. Dell's consumer revenue in the country more than tripled last quarter. Our emphasis, however, is on direct sales to corporate, government, and education customers, who together account for two-thirds of all demand in China, and in the 36 largest cities to which 70% of industry shipments are made.

Lynn A. Tyson, Vice-President

Corporate Communications and Investor Relations

Dell Inc.

Round Rock, Tex.

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