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October 8, 1993     Cape Gazette
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October 8, 1993
 

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CAPE GAZe, Friday, October 8 - October 14, 1993 - 11 CAPE LIFE Castle addresses Clinton's health care plan at forum By Cordelia Maeintire Congressman Michael Castle addressed a gathering of health care providers and concerned citi- zens at a public information meet- ing on the impending changes in America's health care system on Monday, Oct. 4 at Beebe Medical Center. Castle organized the meeting, because, he said, "We (Congress) are going to be making decisions that will impact the health care of every citizen in America - that will impact you. I believe the Con- gress to be a group of good, bright people who care about their con- stituents. We want you to under- stand the options, and we want to hear your concerns." Castle prefaced the group dis- cussion with "a very brief sum- mary of some very complex plans" -- that proposed by Presi- dent Clinton, and three other plans sponsored by Republican Con- gressmen as alternatives to the President's proposal. According to Castle, the various plans are alike in that they would offer coverage regardless of pre- existing conditions or job changes, but differed in the mechanisms by which such coverage would be obtained and how it would be paid. As Castle explained it, the Clin- ton plan guarantees insurance for all citizens regardless of job or medical status and requires employers to provide and pay for a large percentage of their employees' coverage. Clinton hopes to save money by imposing ceilings on medical spending and streamlining administrative costs; additional revenues to fund the plan would be derived from a tax on tobacco, and possibly, alcohol. According to Castle, the various GOP plans rely less on govern- ment intervention to expand cov- erage or hold down costs, but instead rely upon competition and incentives to make insurance more affordable. None of the GOP plans mandate that employers pay for health care, and none set a def- inite target for universal coverage. The audience was supplied with summaries of Clinton's plan as well as the GOP alternative pro- posals. (Castle himself supports one of the alternatives, refered to generally as "the House Republi- can Plan.") The Republican Congressman was joined by a panel of local health care personnel and commu- nity representatives that included James Ball, president of Beebe Medical Center; Don Bogden, chief of staff at Beebe Medical Center, director of Oceanside Mental Health Services and self- described "soon-to-be-retired-per- son"; Colleen Waring, vice-presi- dent of nursing at Beebe Medical Center; and Chip Hearn, small business owner, representing the 500 members of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce and the 400 members of the Delaware Restaurant Asso- ciation. The panelists made opening remarks summarizing their con- cerns about health care reforms. Ball began by acknowledging the need for reform, stating his belief that people are willing to effect that change, but adding that he is concerned that the cuts expected of hospitals are unrealis- tic. "Change is not the enemy," said Ball. "It is, in fact, the very goal. Clinton is asking hospitals to cut administrative costs, which should and can be done. But what has not been played up is that much of the increased funding for this plan i!L //?i:ii  i:L Cordelia Macintire photo Congressman Mike Castle gestures to the crowd on hand for a health care forum at Beebe Medical Center Oct. 4, will come from $124 billion in Medicare cuts. One hundred-two billion dollars of that is lost reim- bursements to hospitals, a dispro- portionate share of the burden." Bogden questioned the future of the "good things about the current system," asking what would be the status of the doctor-patient rela- tionship, quality credentials or research foundations under a uni- versal system, where so many physicians would be required to spread themselves so thin. Waring's concerns focused too on the logistic problems of provid- ing primary access to care with universal coverage and on main- taining the quality of health care. "I talked with hospital staff today," said Waring, "lab techni- cians, therapists, nurses--- they are all willing to work with whatever system can maintain quality of care." Hearn testified as to the poten- tial plight of "small employers forced to endure a mandated plan." Hearn predicted having to lay-off approximately eight per- cent of his staff (of 150) in order to pay the health care costs of the rest. "We do need managed care of some sort," said Hearn, "but the government shouldn't be able to mandate it. Have you ever known the government to run anything well or that costs less?" The audience's concerns too, were many and varied. From every corner of the room people rose to make suggestions and tell their health care stories. Many of these wanted to know if and how Continued on page 12 And you thought women were lousy drivers Mention the thought of men dri- vers and you'll quickly draw a crowd of women with a collective groan. The talk can get ugly as tale after tale is related of being trapped in a steel vehicle, endur- ing hours of mindless conversa- tion, at the mercy of a driver with no direction while hurtling through miles of pavement at the speed of light. So with all the emphasis by the Clinton Administration on re- inventing things (the government, health care, etc.) why not consider re-inventing the car. It seems like a simple idea: a vehicle designed solely for the use of men. When you think about it, there is so much equipment on an automobile that men don't use. The cost would be cut in half so that every male in the country would be able to afford to purchase a car. Take, for instance, the automat- ic turn signal. Everyone knows that the last time most men used this device was when they took their driver's test. In fact, my own husband.didn't know he had one on the car until it was pointed out amidst blaring horns and angry looks, Now, I can't prove this, but I AROUND TOWN Nancy Katz have it on good authority that the government has been interested in testing the theory that men don't use turn signals, too. They have chosen the New Jersey Turnpike as their testing ground. From what I understand, the test involved placing men in vehicles at the start of the turnpike. They must cut in front of and as closely as possible to as many other vehicles as time permits. At the end of the Turn- pike, they are collected and returned to their natural habitat, which is usually a bar or lounge to await the test results that include the number of vehicles cut off, divided by the number of heart attacks. And while we are at it, we can eliminate the whole front bumper. This would allow men to get four to six inches closer to the car in front of them. It would give new meaning, not to mention a bigger thrill, to tail-gaiting. I once asked a friend if she had any complaints about the way her husband drove. "No," she answered. She couldn't exactly put her finger on it but she said, "I always had this back of the throat, terrorizing, night stalking, primal scream feeling that I could be killed at any moment." This feel- ing would come over her when her husband started the car, at all major intersections and for that matter, on any road. But other than that, no real problems. And what about that rear view mirror - another thing that could be eliminated totally. The other night I'm driving with my hus- band. We're in the middle lane of a busy three-lane highway and he slows down to ask if he should take a right hand turn now. Not only is the noise from an 19-wheel __ / i diesel truck bearing down on us in the right lane deafening, but the wattage from the headlights of this truck was similar to those old black and white prison movies where they flood the prison yard with lights. A casual glance in the rear view mirror? What rear view mirror? Another friend of mine put it this way: "The thing I hate most is when I get in the car, the seat is still adjusted for someone who is twice my size. It's sort of like leaving the toilet seat up. Only I'm halfway down the driveway before I realize I'll need stilts to reach the brake pedals." And how about those annoying little habits. They could turn out to be very cost effective. Again, we could eliminate the heating and air-conditioning ducts on the pas- senger side. Most men consider control of these devices similar to Continued on page 12