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Donna Shalala

September 23, 1993

* Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala blamed the disparity in death rates between affluent suburbanites and poor residents of inner-city and rural areas on uneven access to medical care nationwide (Sept. 16). Here again we see the deliberate misinterpretation of data to suit one's purpose.

When will she realize that her interpretation of the data is seriously flawed and that death rates have more to do with differences in lifestyle rather than access to health care. Gang-related violence, drug abuse, teen-age pregnancies, and smoking are the main culprits responsible for the disparities. We need to change lifestyle, not access to medical care.

Even if all of Bill Clinton's reform proposals are instituted, we will still have a higher infant mortality rate and shorter life expectancy in the inner-cities and rural areas because these statistics have much to do with lifestyle, rather than access to medical care.

JACOB S. LO MD

Fontana

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