Thursday, June 5, 2003

Readers' Views

Insurance companies can help retain specialists


In response to the May 30 article covering Anthem's proposal to start a fund to address Cincinnati's shortage of physician specialists, I am pleased to hear that one insurance company is taking its head out of the sand long enough to recognize our city's health care crisis. However, I fear the proposed solution will provide only a Band-Aid for a nearly amputated limb.

The insurers fail to recognize that they have had the most significant role in creating the shortage of specialists, because of their insufficient physician reimbursement rates. Cincinnati is not lacking in wonderful hospitals or nice places to live and raise families. It is lacking in adequate physician reimbursement, compared to similar cities. Physicians in all specialties will be attracted to Cincinnati, if the insurers pay them fairly. But what hope do we have of that, when an insurance company's reaction to losing a prominent group of specialists is basically a shrugging of the corporate shoulders and a statement saying that it has other specialists under contract? The insurers need to start caring about the patients' and the physicians' wallets as much as they care about their own.

Heather Lorenz, Mount Washington

Griffey did his part, but Reds did not

Ken Griffey Jr. has been used. Cincinnati Reds fans have been mislead and cheated. When the Reds negotiated a contract with Kenny in 2000 it was implied that tickets would sell and there would be a winning team on the field for the opening of the Great American Ball Park.

Kenny fulfilled his obligation, drawing fans and, whenever physically possible, helping the team. The Cincinnati Reds' owners reneged on their part, and now that a successful starting pitching rotation has not been developed they must use Kenny's deferred salary to attempt to supply the necessary players to provide a winner.

Kenny had hoped to complete his career here. Now because of owner's selfishness he probably will be traded. Cincinnati will never witness the true Ken Griffey Jr. talent.

I, for one of the faithful Griffey fans, will be there cheering the day he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Then, as now, true Redleg fans will be cheated.

Mary C. Vornhagen, Dent

Change health care plans for veterans

At the expense of, perhaps, appearing too simplistic, I would like to offer a thought as to how four apparently unrelated problems might be addressed. Problems:

• It appears our government, because of the costs involved, is planning to reduce veterans' lifetime health-care benefits in spite of a promise made to them at the time of their enlistment.

• We are encountering a very severe shortage of registered nurses throughout our health-care system.

• We have, overall, an excess of hospital beds, leading to severe financial losses.

• There have been ongoing complaints about the Veterans Administration's hospitals, both from a standpoint of effectiveness and of cost.

Potential Solution:

Close the VA hospitals and provide veterans with a government-paid health insurance program, which can be used at any hospital. This eliminates the cost of the VA hospitals, enables RNs now working at VA hospitals to work in the remaining hospitals, helps the economics of the remaining hospitals and should enable the government to make good on its health-care promise to veterans at affordable costs.

I don't have access to all the numbers involved and would, therefore, not propose this as an ultimate solution to all the noted problems but it certainly would be a very good start.

Alex Keller, Anderson Township

Families can't afford multiple museum fees

My family of six has museum membership fatigue: We cannot afford to join the Cincinnati Zoo, the Cincinnati Museum Center, and Newport Aquarium. In years past, when our children were younger, we would choose one museum to join. That kept the attractions fresh as we rotated our memberships between the museums. Now, we have the Zoo asking for operating funds through another levy, the Museum Center moaning about its finances and the Newport Aquarium expanding to attract the members they lost. Why can't the leaders of these museums combine a simple family pass so that families can afford to use these facilities? They could even share their specific attractions with the other museums through traveling exhibits. We can't afford memberships to these museums this year because the price is too high.

Joseph Gorman, Finneytown

Moral critics silent on Bush's war

Just a few short years ago a president was impeached for lying or misleading the nation regarding his sexual indiscretions. The hue and cry was earth-shattering, ear-splitting and fodder for every conservative talk show host and columnist in the country. Moral indignation fairly dripped from the mouths and pens of the aforementioned.

We are now apparently faced with a situation where our president may have mislead or lied regarding weapons of mass destruction in order to justify committing the nation, its youth and its standing in the eyes of the entire world to a preemptive war. One wonders the moral difference between our president and that impeached president? One wonders which was the greater sin? One wonders when and if a conservative hue and cry will be heard throughout the land?

Gerald Schwartz, Amberley Village

Tobacco fund is being used well

This is in response to the letter ("Government's fingers are in countless pies," May 24). The writer asked, "Where did all the tobacco settlement money go?" The money did not vanish. It is being used in Ohio to pay for many smoking cessation/awareness programs. Once such program is Every Child Succeeds Smoking Cessation Program. Every Child Succeeds is a home visitation program for first-time, at risk mothers. Every Child Succeeds received a three-year grant from The Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation.

As a result of this grant, mothers in our program who smoke will receive information on the smoking cessation. In addition, day care centers in Hamilton, Clermont, Butler, Brown, and Adams Counties in Ohio will receive printed information on the effects of second-hand smoke and the effects on children. The tobacco settlement money in Ohio is being put to good use. If you like more information, please visit the following web site: www.standohio.org.

Debra Larkin RN, BSN
Clinical Quality Assurance Coordinator,
Every Child Succeeds

A human investment
Another cheating athlete
Don't erode freedoms
Peace 'road map' offers new hope
Readers' Views