Don't Ignore GOP Health-Care Reform Plans

I was distressed to see the inaccuracies in the front page article ``Clinton Signals a Compromise on Health Plan,'' Dec. 1.

The article states, ``the single-payer bill [McDermott HR 1200] has the most supporters [93] of any single alternative to Clinton ....'' This is inaccurate. HR 3080, sponsored by House Republican leader Rep. Robert Michel (R) of Illinois, has the most co-sponsors, 134 in the House. Mr. Michel's GOP alternative is ignored.

The article also ignores S 1743, sponsored by Sen. Don Nickles (R) of Oklahoma. Mr. Nickles has 25 Senate sponsors for his reform proposal, more than any other Senate proposal except Clinton's. This omission is unfortunate since S 1743 appears to be the primary Republican alternative. Any health-care reform article must take note of the seven major bills ``reforming'' health care that will be considered in 1994. Karl Peterjohn, Wichita, Kan. NRA: controlling guns or Congress?

Regarding the article ``NRA Came Close to Backing Brady Bill,'' Dec. 3: As a member of the National Rifle Association, I've been taught that the NRA is actually America's oldest gun-control institution.

I have taken and passed the NRA's certified pistol-training course. Our instructors took several hours just to explain the basics of safe, disciplined handling of firearms, and to cover laws regarding licensing and penalties for misuse or negligence. The trainers cautioned strongly against using guns for self-defense without special combat training.

The NRA opposed the Brady bill because waiting periods for gun buyers have failed to reduce violent crime. California, New York City, and Washington, D.C., are cases in point. If Congress gave high priority to the nationwide system of instant background checks to weed out felons - a method that the NRA has long pushed for and that a number of states already have - the system could be implemented soon.

It's crucial that Brady's background-check provision be enforced and then replace the waiting period - or we could be on a slippery slope to penalizing law-abiding citizens. Jim Hastings, Boston NRA: controlling guns or Congress?

Behind the passage of the Brady bill is a story as important as violence on the streets. Why did it take so long to pass so small a contribution to the sane regulation of firearms? And why, when it seemed recently that the bill would finally pass, did we have the spectacle of some senators exhausting the public's patience by preventing a vote?

The simple answer is money. A well-financed and well-organized lobby is able to thwart the wishes of a clear majority of the people. In the end, it was only because popular support was so overwhelming (over 80 percent of Americans supported this bill) that the lobby was defeated.

There could be no clearer example of the need for serious reform concerning the influence of money on government. John W. Chuckman, Manotick, Ontario German reunification a success

Regarding the article ``Vote in Eastern Germany Signals Return to the Left,'' Dec. 7:

I was born and raised in Weimar, East Germany. The author quotes an opinion quite common among people in the eastern part of Germany: ``It's worse than it was before.'' I am afraid that this leaves the impression that the reunification of the two Germanys was a mistake. The economic situation did become more insecure than it was under the totalitarian regime of Erich Honecker.

But it would not be right to say that the government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl is fully responsible for the rather difficult political, economic, and emotional situation in east Germany, which certainly is not made easier by the tough recession facing all of Europe.

One should not overlook that east Germany's economy is still growing despite the recession. The predicted growth of seven percent for 1994 gives hope for a slow, but effective and solid recovery from the years of stagnation.

I believe that the German reunification is a success, although it is not a gratis one as some perhaps hoped it would be, and although the success will be visible only after some years. Stephan Schwaabe, San Pedro, Calif.

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