Benefits of Canadian healthcare

Regarding your Aug. 28 article, "Canadian model of healthcare ails": As a Canadian now living in the US, I have to say that despite its challenges, I prefer the Canadian healthcare system. The system may be financially burdened, but individuals are not.

While in Canada, my employer never had to pay a premium for my healthcare insurance. My Canadian co-workers never had to deduct hundreds of dollars each month from their paychecks to cover the insurance needs of their family members. I've never had a friend, relative, or co-worker struggling to pay off healthcare costs as I do here.

Everyone, including the unemployed and homeless, has equal access to healthcare services in Canada, unlike the 40 million Americans who don't have insurance, as cited in your article.
Cara Branigan
Columbia, Md.

In "Canadian model of healthcare ails," Michael Decter, the chair of the national board of the Canadian Institute for Health Information, says, "We do well on life expectancy and immunization of children compared to the US.... But we see the drug ads on US television and worry that we're not as shiny and new as the Americans."

If, as Mr. Decter admits, life expectancy in Canada is higher than in the US, does this mean Canadians are healthier than Americans? Maybe less is more in this case. Maybe those "shiny and new" drugs aren't really so beneficial.
Cora Scott
Northampton, Mass.

Mandatory Medicare coverage

Your Aug. 19 Q&A, "The penalty of signing up late for Medicare" (Work&Money), could be misleading to your readers. Both the question and answer imply that seniors have a choice when it comes to signing up for Medicare.

A more precise answer would have explained that Medicare has two parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (supplementary medical insurance). Enrollment in Medicare Part A is mandatory if you want to receive your Social Security benefits. The only way citizens can decline enrollment in Medicare Part A is if they forgo all Social Security benefits. Medicare part B is voluntary. However, if seniors delay enrollment for more than a year from the time they are eligible for Part B, the premium cost goes up 10 percent and every additional year adds another 10 percent to their premium costs. This penalty is applied during the entire time seniors are enrolled in Part B.
Sue A. Blevins
President, The Institute for Health Freedom

No need to edit movies

Regarding John Hughes's Aug. 28 column (Opinion) "Moviemakers versus the clean-flicks revolt": There is a rating system that allows viewers to make up their own minds whether they should rent a film or not. When I was growing up, my parents merely kept me away from "objectionable" material and enjoyed R-rated films after I went to sleep.

Perhaps we should cross out objectionable phrases in certain books or paste leaves over paintings that feature nudity. That would be a lot easier than taking the time out to supervise our children.

If you are at the video store and see a film that looks "objectionable," simply don't rent it. That is the most democratic way to send a message to Hollywood.
T. Trail
Hollywood, Calif.

Clarification: The $22 million listed as Hershey Foods CEO Richard Lenny's compensation in Pat M. Holt's Aug. 1 column should have identified Mr. Lenny's base salary and bonus as $1.5 million. The additional $20.5 million is the estimated value of Lenny's long-term incentive grants in 2001.

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