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Debate Over Health Care

July 25, 1994

My brother broke his leg two weeks ago. The doctor at the hospital he was taken to refused to treat him for nine hours, made him sit in a hallway without the benefit of pain medication and then berated him for being so stupid as to not have health insurance. The way I see it, this doctor was not a "professional dedicated to patients' well-being" (letter, July 19), he was solely interested in whether or not my brother had money.

My brother was admitted to County-USC in need of surgery. I wonder if this could have been prevented if the first doctor had acted professionally and given my brother the care he needed, no, deserved.

We don't have a health-care crisis in this country, we have a health-care disgrace. It's about time that insurance companies own up to their part in this conspiracy instead of defending money-grubbing doctors.

JILL MANNING

West Hollywood

Universal health coverage? Unlikely in this imperfect world. We could settle for 95% coverage--as long as it's the top 5% that's excluded.

DORA P. CROUCH

Santa Paula

Patrick Buchanan says President Clinton's policies may just succeed in destroying the Democratic Party's hold on Catholics (Column Right, July 17). My Catholic family and I left the Democratic Party 20 years ago when it became the Democratic Abortion Party.

However, one doesn't have to be a Catholic to recognize that abortion is the killing of a life--the life of a tiny baby girl or boy whose own heart began beating 18-25 days after it was conceived; 40 days after conception, the child had detectable brain waves. By the time that little girl or boy reaches the average age for an abortion, all its body systems are working and it is able to perform a variety of activities.

It is indeed an American tragedy that the Democratic Party continues to reject the right of life for the defenseless unborn child.

LOUISE C. MEEHAN

Inglewood

It's interesting that Buchanan, in his usual tirades against homosexuals and abortion, would use President Kennedy's 1960 victory as an example. During that election, Kennedy had to broaden his appeal in order to silence critics who felt that the election of a Catholic into the White House would make the U.S. subject to papal edicts.

Isn't it ironic that as the religious right encroaches into our government, those critics would be proved correct some 30 years later. Vatican forces have organized special-interest groups, both foreign and domestic, intent on influencing U.S. policy to reflect the Pope's will.

Yet even as Catholics and other Christians mobilize into a political force, they seem to have forgotten that being in the political spotlight has its barbs as well. Buchanan whines about so-called "Catholic bashing," yet feels that the church is above reproach when it campaigns to treat gays and women as second-class citizens.

Perhaps Buchanan should remember that we live in a democratic society, and that criticism of political ideals is not just limited to the most self-righteous among us.

ROBERT SCHULTZ

Fullerton

Hooray for the Dole/Packwood and Senate Finance Committee health proposals that don't mandate participation but do require affordable insurance be made available for those with pre-existing conditions.

If this passes I'm going to wait until I'm sick and then buy my health insurance!

If only we could have the same reforms for auto, fire, earthquake and life insurance. Follow the logic: Let's eliminate death as a pre-existing condition that denies life insurance!

STEVE GORDON

Pasadena

It is most interesting that when the Catholic bishops came out against coverage of reproductive health in the national health plan, it was front-page news (July 14). But the formation of a coalition of religious leaders to oppose the invocation of God "to assert the moral superiority of one group of people over another" is relegated to the back pages (July 15). I guess those who support religious freedom aren't very newsworthy.

ROCHELLE HOFFMAN

Corona del Mar

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