Single-Payer Health Plans Deserve Attention

The front-page article ``Businesses Line Up Against Clinton Plan; Public Is Still Divided,'' Feb. 4, is misleading. Americans may be divided in their views of President Clinton's health-care reform plan or conservative alternatives to it, but other polls have shown that a majority of Americans in general and US physicians in particular support a single-payer plan.

Single-payer bills have been introduced in the House (HR 1200 by Reps. Jim McDermott [D] of Washington and John Conyers [D] of Michigan) and in the Senate (S 491 by Sen. Paul Wellstone [D] of Minnesota). It is inconceivable that a report on health-care proposals would ignore these bills, especially since they had some of the highest number of congressional sponsors of any of the health-care proposals.

Instead, the article focused on the Clinton plan (a.k.a. ``the Insurance Industry Preservation Act of 1993'') and conservative alternatives to it.

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For democracy to work, citizens must be informed about all of the alternative proposals. When the media attempt to limit discussion to a narrow range of proposals, they are failing in their duty to the American public. Ronald Forthofer and Mary Forthofer, Longmont, Colo.

Stand up to extremes of war

I am overdue in thanking Jeff Danziger for his wonderful, thoughtful, and timely cartoons. The Jan. 27 cartoon prompts this letter: With the heading ``A Target in Sarajevo,'' it depicts what happened to the children who lost their lives as they were playing in the snow.

When children are not allowed to express the only joy left to them it is high time the world stood up to the bullies and said ``Enough.'' There has already been too much innocence lost. Shirley B. Berg, Detroit

Harding and sports money

I am very disturbed by Jeff Danziger's Jan. 18 cartoon of [Olympic athletes and their agents].

As of that day, Tonya Harding had not been proven guilty of anything. She may want big money, but does it occur to anyone that she might want or have to pay back some of the money invested in her?

It is one thing to point out wrong morals, but don't the big football and baseball stars sign up for big money? Nan C. Moorhead, N. Ft. Meyers, Fla

Stocking up on guns

The article ``Seems a Lot of People Got Guns for Christmas,'' Jan. 7, contains an assertion by a Handgun Control Inc. spokeswoman to the effect that she doubts Americans are purchasing guns at a greater rate than normal because of the Brady Bill and other pending legislation.

If she truly doubts this, she should visit a number of sporting goods stores and ask the salespeople why their shelves are less well stocked than normal.

If she still doubts that Americans are rapidly arming themselves in anticipation of tighter gun controls, she should contact a few of the state agencies that receive handgun sales reports.

Gun-control advocates tend to support measures that will have a far greater impact on the availability of weapons for the honest citizen than they will on the ability of the criminal to obtain weapons. William G. Dennis, Kelso, Wash.

Socialist approach to agriculture

I have read the article ``Russia's Agrarian Party Runs Against Land Reform,'' Dec. 1, with much interest and some incomprehension.

I have been a socialist all my voting life; once the socialist-left in the Labor Party here was a force to be reckoned with. No one thought there was any hope of a communist takeover in Australia - the most that could be hoped for was that production should be primarily for the needs of the people and not for profit. Is this not what the Agrarian Party has in mind? Is it not apparent that collective farming is the only legitimate goal?

Russian President Boris Yeltsin, it seems, would take them back to the ``romantic'' days of ``War and Peace'' when the most the serfs could hope for was slow starvation. Ruth Heffernan Whittington, Australia

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