Letters, Week of November 22

Bayousphere It'll be fine as long as the relatives don't see this: Mike and Pam, who didn't want to disclose their last names, saying they wanted to surprise their families with news of their engagement, look over rings with diamond seller David Sirois.
Deron Neblett

Fed Up with Feds

Medical misery: Wendy Grossman's report ["Sick Kids," November 8] shows how the federal government's meddling in our health care system has created more problems than it has solved. Before Medicare and Medicaid, free clinics and charity hospitals were plentiful for those who couldn't pay, doctors made house calls, health care and health insurance were affordable, senior citizens paid half as much out of their own pockets as they do now even when one adjusts for inflation, and a greater percentage of the population had access to health care than they do today.

Many of the free clinics and charity hospitals were forced out of business by burdensome government regulations. The federal government has driven up the cost of health care by increasing the demand and reducing the supply by requiring doctors and other medical personnel to spend more of their time filling out paperwork and complying with regulations. The federal government has made a mess of our health care system. Let's get it out of the health care business.

Kent Probst

Still Reeling

Menu madness: Misnaming fish in restaurants makes me crazy ["Fish Fraud," by Robb Walsh, November 1]! It's especially bad here in Arizona, which I admit is not the best place to order anything that lives in water. My mom was from Arkansas, and I know a catfish when I'm not eating it, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for a great story.

Diane Greene

Ready for the grill: Another excellent article -- a real eye-opener. You can be sure I will ask more questions of my waiter/waitress from now on.

Nick L. Marr

Diabolical Docs

Research on the poor: I was very impressed by the well-researched article written by Debbie Nathan ["Bayou City Body Snatchers," November 1]. It's horrifying, but not surprising, to learn that Nazi doctors, known for their torture of the mentally disabled and prison camp inmates, not only were never brought to justice but were employed as researchers. I'm not surprised at experiments being done on poor minorities, the indigent and the disabled, because of an Oklahoma research project in the 1970s.

Families brought children with spina bifida to the hospital for medicine and were instead given placebos (without their knowledge or consent). The purpose of the research was to develop a "formula" by which the medical community could decide who was worth treating. It was assumed that poor minority families were incapable of dealing with the challenges of raising a disabled child, and those children were the ones given placebos. There was a class action suit on it that went to the Supreme Court around 1990 and lost at that level for technical reasons.

As nauseating as these stories are, we must not let them be covered up or forgotten, or we will continue to repeat the same mistakes.

Name withheld by request
Missouri City

Pew Politics

Stop the payouts: Thanks for Tim Fleck's article on the collection plate "prayola" [The Insider, October 25]. However, I think that most political activists in Houston will agree that he only touched the tip of the iceberg.

It would be interesting to know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars these "pulpit pimps" take in during the course of each election year, while the gutless, complacent suburban ministers say and do nothing because of their fear of losing their tax-exempt status and/or funding from their "politically correct" members.

Could it be that the liberal ACLU is in bed with the liberal pulpit pimps? Surely not!

Jim Kennedy

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