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Dialogu Health care for the poor As attorneys concerned about the health care rights of the poor, we were pleased to see the Observer’s coverage of the Plains Memorial Hospital \(Obs., realize the insurmountable health care problems which low-income persons confront daily. However, P. C. Jennings omitted from his article one of the most crucial factors: that Plains Memorial Hospital is a Hill-Burton facility and, as such, has an obligation to provide a “reasonable volume of free care” to all income-eligible patients. The Hill-Burton Act provides federal hospital construction funds to both private and public hospitals across the country. In exchange for the federal assistance, hospitals must pledge to provide the free care. For 20 years the amount of free care is computed by federally defined formulas, one of which is the “open door.” Under the open-door formula, a hospital must admit any patient who is unable to pay. According to records available through the Texas Department of Health, Plains Memorial elected to be an open-door facility. If the hospital was in compliance with its Hill-Burton obligations, no eligible patient should have been turned away or denied treatment. Advocates for the poor nationwide share our concern that many hospitals fail to comply with the Hill-Burton requirements. HEW is now considering amending the regulations to assure stricter hospital compliance. Perhaps with the new regulations, tragedies like the one in Dimmitt will be avoided. Barbara Hines Regina Lynn Rogoff Austin Prodding Eckhardt Linda Rocawich’s euphoria at the thought of Congressman Bob Eckhardt taking over John Moss’s investigations subcommittee prompted her, I’m sorry to see, to discredit Moss as a way of building up Eckhardt \(Obs., Well, lest your readers go away with the idea that Moss was “just” a publicity exploiter, a headline butterfly, let me remind you that, as the record will show, he was the one person in Congress most responsible for the Freedom of Information Act. Not a week passes without a major revelation of government malfeasance that would not have been uncovered without the FOI. Thank Moss for that. As for his using the panel to publicize his investigations, and then moving on to others, that’s all he could do. It doesn’t mean he “lost interest.” She admits that the subcommittee cannot write legislation. So after the heat has been put on, after the press and, one hopes, the public have been whipped up, there is nothing else the subcommittee can accomplish. Moss was a master of publicity. And he had a staff chockful of publicity demons. They knew how to grab the headlines and they grabbed them in the public’s interest. Half of any major legislative battle is, of course, carried out in the press. Moss was a marvelous battler in that regard, and we will benefit from his work for many years. His retirement was a tragedy for consumers. Of course we are lucky that the subcommittee goes to Eckhardt; it would have been disastrous in the hands of John Murphy. But I think The Texas Observer would serve Eckhardt better if it gave him less adulation and more stimulation. For all his good intentions and charm, Eckhardt is only a politician, which means he responds to prods. If you don’t prod him, others will. Who prodded him to vote money for Somoza’s repressive government? Who prodded him to make so many compromisesrotten compromises, I thinkin the natural gas fight? Who prodded him to push so zealously for the nomination of Lynn Coleman as attorney for the Department of Energy? Perhaps I’m out of touch -with what the left is seeking these days, but at first glance I would not think any of those actions were the sort that The Texas Observer would approve of. I think Eckhardt could become a great, truly great, chairman of this investigating subcommittee. He is smart, decent, hardworking; and, most useful of all, the press corps likes and respects him. But my prediction is that he will fall far short of greatness unless hard pressure is put on him every day, every week, every monthunrelentinglyby people such as The Texas Observer. First rateness in politics depends almost solely on a first-rate constituency, manufactured or otherwise. Robert Sherrill Baltimore, Maryland 24 APRIL 13, 1979 classified “TAXES: EQUAL OR NONE” Bumper Stickers. 50 cents each: 3 for $1. Taxpayers Against Unlawful Taxation. Drawer T, Goliad 77963. WANTED: Features, Editorials, Cartoons energy, environment, etc. Samples, etc., to: E-Syndicate News Service. Sugarloaf Star Rt., Boulder, CO 80302. DUMP CLEMENTS NOT NUCLEAR WASTE. Bumpersticker. 1/$1.00 or 4/52.00 Box 12126, Austin 78711. THE SAN ANTONIO Democratic League meets the first Thursday of each month. For information, call Jim Bode at 344-1497. BACKPACKING MOUNTAINEERING -RAFTING. Outback Expeditions, P.O. Box FREEWHEELING BICYCLES. 2404 San Gabriel, Austin. For whatever your bicycle needs. BOOK-HUNTING? No obligation search for rare or out-of-print books. Ruth and John 8, Box 173, Austin 78703. TYPING. Can’t do it yourself? Or don’t have the time? Professional typing at reasonable rates in Austin or by mail around the state. JOIN THE ACLU. Membership $20. Texas Civil Liberties Union, 600 West 7th, Austin 78701. BINGO A FELONY? Send S.A.S.E. Tasar, Box 50667, Dallas 75250. ” Classified advertising is 30 per word. Discounts for multiple insertions within a 12, month period: 25 times, 50 percent; 12 times, 25 percent; 6 times, 10 percent. Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 IF YOU ARE an occasional reader and would like to receive The Texas Observer regularlyor if you are a subscriber and would like to have a free sample copy or a one-year gift subscription sent to a friend here’s the order form: SEND THE OBSERVER TO name address city state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscriptionsend card in my name sample copy onlyyou may use my name $14 enclosed for a one-year subscription bill me for $14 MY NAME & ADDRESS THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701