Page 9


A sponsor on his bill It was pleasing to see that your article in the April 27 issue of The Texas Observer centered on “The health care dilemma” and our efforts in the Texas Legislature to improve the health care system. Your article recognizes the benefits of a and acknowledges our efforts to provide definitive legislation to clearly enable the formation of HMO’s in Texas. I would, however, like to clarify some misrepresentations in your article. Identifying the bill that I introduced in bill” is inaccurate. Upon reading the bill, you will clearly note that the primary regulating agency is the State Board of Insurance. Since an HMO assumes the total responsibility for the health care of its enrollees, 1 did suggest that it is proper for those persons primarily responsible for this health care of the enrollees, the physicians, to have the necessary authority to assume this very important “health care” responsibility. I am sure that you will agree that the Board of Insurance does not have the required expertise and training to oversee the standards of quality of medical care. With regard to the expressed support of my bill in the House and Senator Schwartz’s bill in the Senate, if you review the testimony given, you will see that my bill was officially supported by labor as 16 The Texas Observer IDialogue well as the Texas Medical Foundation. In addition, consumers also testified in behalf of our bill. I am an advocate of the HMO concept, but I am not wedded to every detail of my bill or opposed to the provisions of other bills which would accomplish the same purpose. My sole objective is to provide for the citizens of Texas an improved health care system which offers improved benefits at lower cost, but most importantly, without sacrificing the quality of medical care. Joe Allen, State Representative, Harris County, Tex. Under Allen’s bill, the Board of Medical Examiners would have a strong role in regulating HMO’s. Joe Christie, the new chairman of the State Board of Insurance, said the bill “makes the Insurance Board only a paper authority.”Ed. HEW view The lead article in the April 27 issue, “Your Money or Your Life,” which dealt with Health Maintenance Organizations was read with considerable interest. We welcome objective and accurate publicity on the subject and particularly when it deals with specific situations in a state in our jurisdiction. I do request the correction of at least two inaccurate statements in the article that could result in erroneous interpretation of the relationship between the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and Texas Instruments, Inc., of Dallas. HEW contracted with TI to prepare a model plan for “Development of an Implementation Plan for the Establishment of a Health Maintenance Organization.” This contract was completed Dec. 31, 1971, and did not direct or imply that the contractor was to establish or consider the establishment of an HMO. It was published as a nationwide guide for use by organizations interested in HMOs. Another contract which expires on June 30, 1973, authorizes the Health Services Branch of TI to provide direct technical assistance to organizations selected by HEW who are in the process of planning or developing HMOs. Through confirmation by Mr. Jack Strobel, manager, Health Services Branch, Texas Instruments, lawyers from that corporation have never had any plans of filing suit against the State of Texas concerning HMO nor do they have any agreements with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. Your publication of this information will be appreciated. C. David Bird, Regional Program Director, HSMHA, U.S. Dept., H.E.W., Region VI, Dallas, Tex. The Observer stands by its story. Ed. Oops This is written, of course, more in sorrow than in scorn, but I have noticed an increasing percentage of careless reporting in your columns even as you do become more objective. Several times I have wanted to write and take issue with some of the facts you have dealt with from El Paso, wondering if your information from other parts of the state was equally slipshod. I forebore. Today, however, I am impelled to question two small but indicative items and suggest that you either take your El Paso correspondent to task or get someone who is more reliable from this end of the state. I refer to the April 27 issue, page 6, “Political Intelligence.” These are small errors, but careless ones. Fred Hervey was mayor from 1951 to 1955, not 1954. He is best known for his Circle K stores, not his restaurant chain. He was not married a few months ago for the fifth time, but some ten or 15 years ago. He is expected to take the vows again in the near future, with a woman he has been dating steadily for the past two years since his latest divorce. He did NOT “judiciously balance his known support for a John Birch Society front organization by including three chicanos on his slate.” He has never knowingly supported a Birch activity. Finally, if Hector Bencomo is 25 years old, I’m in my swaddling clothes. Art Leibson, 1000 Kelly Way, El Paso, Tex. 79902. `Unimportant incidents’ I think that left wing, liberal press has been unduly critical of President Nixon. The Observer, among others, has blown unimportant incidents in his administration into major scandals to increase your own circulation. I think you should know how the American people feel about the Watergate incident. A recent poll of White House mail shows that the American people overwhelmingly support the President. In fact, only the crank mail is against him. I hope you will consider that fact before you try to take further unfair advantage of the President. Bob Bolin, Box 324, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902.