- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Rice has reassuring words for Ukraine

By emphasizing to President Leonid Kuchma the need for political reforms in Ukraine and the importance of the rule of law and freedom of the press, Condoleezza Rice has strengthened the hopes of many that the Kremlin's efforts to force Ukraine back under the dominion of Russian will fail and that President Vladimir Putin will not create a second evil empire ("Rice stresses need for political reforms," World, July 26).

LEONID LISHCHYNA
Toronto, Ontario

HMOs are sick, but health care system is terminal

Your July 30 front-page article "HMOs are sick, and there's no cure in sight" portrays a fairly accurate snapshot of the dilemma the U.S. consumer is facing with the inability of our country's health care system to adequately control health care expenses and simultaneously meet the insatiable demand for medical services. However, the article is only partially accurate in depicting capitation as the primary financial backbone of the managed care industry.
The shift in employer groups and consumers to "consumer choice" benefit plans (non-gatekeeper, open-access and preferred-provider organizations) with non-capitated arrangements (contracted fee schedules) over the past several years has been one of the two major drivers of the double-digit increases in premium rate hikes we have seen last year and this year. The other is an increase in the use of pharmaceutical drugs. What we have long known in the business world and what physicians refuse to acknowledge and the American consumer refuses to accept, is that there is no free lunch. Yes, HMOs are sick, but our country's health care delivery system is terminal, and the average American is acting like an ostrich with its head in the sand.

JIM BOWMAN, M.D.
Associate medical director
CIGNA HealthCare of North Carolina
Raleigh, N.C.

EP-3 incident was no 'collision'

I should like to add to Mark Warner's letter about the way the media have been referring incorrectly to the Navy EP-3 forced down on Hainan Island in April ("Reconnaissance, not 'spy,' plane," July 15).
Not only is it wrong, as Mr. Warner stated, to refer to the aircraft as a "spy plane" rather than a reconnaissance plane, it also is misleading to say that it "collided with" a Chinese fighter. "Colliding with" implies a degree of active responsibility for the collision, which certainly was absent in this case. It would be more accurate to say the EP-3 was "hit by" the Chinese F-8, thereby placing responsibility for the collision squarely where it belongs.

CHRIS WHEAL
Hollywood, Md.

The damage of same-sex marriage

Deroy Murdock's July 27 article "Separation of marriage and state" misses the point on the harm same-sex "marriage" poses to marriage and society. The concern is not that all married people would be lured out of their marriages, but that the very concept of marriage would be weakened tragically. Defenders of marriage are not only concerned about individual marriages and the institution itself, but about also broader social harms.
Mr. Murdock gives a good comparison between the impact illegal aliens voting would have on citizens' votes to the impact allowing gay "marriages" would have on marriage. Just as allowing illegal aliens to vote certainly would have an impact on an election, diluting the impact of citizens' votes and rendering results potentially contrary to the will of voting citizens, so too, allowing gay "marriage" would change the way marriage is viewed by society and eventually would impact individual marriages if not today, in a decade or two. We have seen this exact thing with the impact of divorce laws and increased unmarried cohabitation on our nation. Children are harmed, and their hopes for good future marriages are dimmed.
Even children whose parents stay married but who grow up with divorce around them are more likely to divorce or to view marriage as a shaky commitment. This lack of commitment is bad for individual couples, their children and our wider society. While the results of our marriage laws may be seen only a generation or two later, as with the negative effects of divorce and cohabitation, marriage nonetheless impacts everyone in society and is an institution which government should protect for the good of its people.
Just as we have seen with the increase in divorce, so too enacting laws endorsing gay "marriage" would change how society views marriage in the future. Many same-sex "marriage" advocates are forthright about using gay "marriage" to change the way society views marriage or even to abolish marriage altogether.
Marriage may well be our most important social institution, and it impacts every area of our lives. Government necessarily is involved and either discourages or encourages marriage. This involvement requires planning for our families' best futures, reviewing what our laws are saying about marriage and ensuring that government is encouraging the good and discouraging the harmful. Strengthening marriage and giving children their moms and dads for life may just be the best plan government can make for the future.

WENDY HERDLEIN
Staff attorney
Marriage Law Project
Washington

Immigrant-enlarged workforce will not boost economy

Sen. Sam Brownback, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on immigration, is as ill-informed as he is irresponsible in his defense of a failed immigration policy that benefits only the cheap-labor lobby and those members of Congress whose new favorite pastime is groveling for the immigrant vote ("Immigration report not a zero-sum view of economy," July 10).
The record high numbers of poor, uneducated and exploitable people entering this country are in no way "fueling" or making "substantial" contributions to our economy. The National Academy of Sciences says immigrant labor represents less than one-tenth of 1 percent of a gross domestic product of $10 trillion.
Only 7 percent of legal immigrants are brought into this country for their skills and education; the remaining 93 percent are the result of "chain migration," a policy that foolishly allows settled immigrants to later bring in members of their extended families.
He also fails to grasp the fundamental truth that legal and illegal immigration are joined at the hip. The higher the level of legal immigration, the greater the number of illegals will be because, among other things, they will have a place to stay. If Mr. Brownback, a Kansas Republican, buys the argument that a large work force means greater productivity, he needs only to look at the Chinese government, which must use draconian methods to slow its population growth.
This nation needs a leader on the immigration issue whose concern for the long-term interests of the American people transcends politics and the thirst for corporate campaign funding.

DAVE GORAK
Executive director
Midwest Coalition to Reform Immigration
Villa Park, Ill.

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