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Letters to the editor 9/16

September 16, 2002

Where's the plan for our water?



To the editor:


For weeks I have been reading the articles in the paper about the water situation. Lots of talk very little action. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what we have is a city (Hagerstown), owning the major water system in Washington County, while the county makes the policy that governs its growth outside of Hagerstown proper. So that brings up the questions I would like to hear answered.

1. What is the maximum output of the Willson Water Plant, without any future upgrades?

2. What is the maximum output if all possible upgrades were made?

3. What is the current output?

4. Would the current feeder lines from the Willson plant be able to carry the increased output?

5. At the current rate of new permits for both industrial and residential when will the water plant become at capacity?

6. What if Hagerstown doesn't upgrade the system for whatever reason, what does the county plan?

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We all know that no one outside Western Maryland cares about us. We must look out for ourselves and I don't think that should include the rush of people who are trying to get away from that terrible mess in the counties to our east (that doesn't include the good people on the Eastern Shore). I can understand the developers wanting to build, that's their business. But when it is built they will move on and we will still be here, left with the mess and congestion like Frederick County.

Many years ago, the county commissioners held a meeting at Four Points when they were first adding the Robins Glenn development and we questioned the traffic and were told not to worry, new roads and a new bridge would be built to handle it. Ya. Sure, the county engineer said at the meeting at HCC Kepler Theater not to plan on any new bridge and road.

Now you can hardly get out of the Robinwood area due to the traffic. What is the plan, to keep raising our taxes to pay for the roads that have been made congested by the developers? Let's see pledges from those running for office, not just lip service like in the past. Now it's water and that is serious, not just poor traffic engineering, but the life of the community. What will they do?

Donald E. Donat

Hagerstown




Health care a moral obligation



To the editor:


Forty million Americans do not have health insurance. Those who do have insurance pay more out of their pockets than do workers in any other comparable country. There are coverage limits, payment limits, co pays, co-insurance and deductibles. If you are a senior citizen, after you pay for Medicare Part B, you need to buy another supplemental policy to pay the co pays, the co-insurance and the deductibles. Affordable health insurance should be available to all Americans.

The goal of private insurers is to minimize coverage for those who need medical service the most by minimizing coverage for known disabilities and sickness through risk selection, coverage selection and exclusion clauses. Our voluntary health insurance system produces medical impoverishment which is unknown in the rest of the modern world and we complain about the lack of human rights in other countries.

Now that South Africa has universal access to medical services, the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that fails to guarantee access to medical services to residents. Our elected officials do provide this kind of coverage for themselves and usually at taxpayer expense.

Approximately 24 percent of what employers and citizens pay does not go to clinical services but to the complex billing, marketing and administrative structure inherent in our voluntary system.

We spend $1.3 trillion to pay for health care in this country but too much of that is spent on large complex companies and officers who design, sell, service, monitor and add mark-ups to thousands of policies and plans designed to cost shift and free ride in some way. This system is not only unjust to hospitals, physicians, patients and families but it is collapsing under its own complexities.

Conservatives of faith consider universal entitlement to health care as moral and necessary as universal entitlement to education.

Mary Butts

Chambersburg, Pa.

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