Health Care Reform: Second And Third Opinions

Regarding "Business can't hide its doubts" (Top of the News, Sept. 20), we need universal health coverage with access to care for the unemployed, for people with preexisting conditions, and for the poor.

Personally, there are areas that concern me. President Clinton's plan is presented as one that encourages "managed competition" and diversity, giving freedom of choice to Americans and lower costs with quality care. However, his plan encourages the opposite by incorporating the following elements:

-- Allowing a state to adopt a one-payer system.

-- Allowing a state to mandate that all companies must join the government alliance instead of allowing large companies to continue high-quality, low-cost self-insurance programs.

-- Cutting Medicare and Medicaid, which are already contained at a level below actual cost on some services.

In an era when the global direction is toward free enterprise, are we to inadvertently opt otherwise?

Ilene Sokoloff

Los Altos, Calif.

As you have described it, the Administration's health plan is a kind of crazy-quilt, stitched together from contradictory and unwarranted assumptions and half-truths. It will no doubt improve the lot of the currently uninsured. The rest of us, I fear, will receive less of the same. We will be at the mercy of second-rate doctors and inferior providers.

If we really want a level playing field, we will stop putting out these idiotic proposals and go to a single-payer system on the lines of the Canadian system.

James C. Daugherty

Bradenton, Fla.

The health-care debate illustrates the difficulty this nation has with fixing any problem we have. The problem is our conflicting demands. We want a Mercedes but can only afford a Yugo. We also distrust our government, but plead with it to do something to help us. Everyone agrees American health care is broken but is unwilling to make one compromise to fix it.

Of course the Administration has to say the "three fibs" about health-care reform ("Three fibs that won't help health reform," Top of the News, Sept. 20). Who can forget Walter Mondale telling the American public flat out that he was going to have to raise taxes to cut the deficit? At least the Presidents who followed had the common sense to lie about raising taxes before they were in a position to do so.

I'm willing to try a plan that has the care President Clinton seems to have invested in it. If it doesn't work, or needs improvement, then I'm sure he will be willing to make changes. I honestly don't know if his plan is the best, but I do know he is at least trying. I'm a hard-nosed realist who does not want to be an armchair critic any longer and who knows that success in this battle will equal pain.

Bruce N. Hoglund

Redstone Arsenal, Ala.