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OPEN MONDAY-SATURDAY 10-6 AND OPEN St ‘N DAY I 0 WATSON & COMPANY BOOKS Life Insurance and Annuities Martin Elfant, CLU SNItife 4223 Richmond, Suite 213, Houston, TX 77027 DIALOGUE Medicare Woes Thanks for your article “The Second Class Care of Medicare” in the September 13 issue. The fact that a medicare patient doesn’t seem to be able to use supplemental insurance is an added problem and I would like someone to address this issue. I guess the next step will be an injection and just put these old people away. Joe Dillard Fort Worth Dissenting Opinion As a longtime reader of the Texas Observer, I am writing to protest your offhand dismissal of the mandatory seat belt law as “unfair and unconstitutional” \(“An Objection,” T.O., Perhaps you wish to disregard the fact that seat belts save lives on the basis that each individual should choose whether or not to be so protected. I agree with that point of view, however, there is more to this issue than the matter of individual choice. Automobile accidents are the largest source of head injuries in the U.S. The treatment of head injury, in turn, is the most expensive medical therapy at the present time, involving long-term hospitalization, intensive interventions of neurologists and neurosurgeons, and painfully slow medical and physical therapy. Such intensive and long-term treatment is a significant factor in driving up the cost of medical care. Governmental measures to lower the incidence of preventable head injury is justified on the basis of the benefit the public derives from health care cost containment. Every dollar of Medicare and Medicaid funds which is not spent on the treatment of preventable injury remains available for the treatment of nonpreventable or less preventable illness in the aged and impoverished. Moreover, reduction of preventable injury is also in the interest of people who are covered by non-governmental health insurance, since increases in the cost of their premiums are moderated. Working to keep the cost of health insurance within the reach of low and moderate income people seems like a progressive issue normally espoused by the editorial policy of the Observer. You refer to the fact that amplebosomed women may find lap/shoulder seat belts uncomfortable. Most belts come with clips whereby the tension and position can be adjusted for the comfort of the occupant, be she ample-bosomed or pregnant, or be she or he fat. These adjustment clips can also be purchased at minimal cost. In any case, seat belts are less uncomfortable. than body casts, braces, crutches and the like. For the above reasons, I protest your resorting to the simplistic approach of your objection cited above. Maria E. Roberts Lubbock Animal Rights Ignored Governor Mark White, Speaker Gib Lewis and Representative Bill Messer deserve an award from their special interest friends. They managefd to bottle up in committees almost every piece of humane legislation presented to the Legislature. Pleas from hundreds of letters, telegrams, phone calls and personal visits could not shake these men to move humane legislation for final floor votes. Animal protection groups were to suffer the indignity of having to beg, all to no avail. To add more insult to injury, Governor White signed a malicious bill, H.B. 1656 by Representative Bill Messer, which makes it illegal to “interfere” with legal hunting \(by implication, a mere “presence” of a humane society member in a hunting situation could apparent the Governor’s priorities were totally with other lobby groups. One would have thought that after the tragedy of Falls County where some 2000 horses died from starvation and illness, and another 30,000 horses were on the brink of a similar fate, our State leaders would finally seek to enact appropriate humane laws to prevent this from ever happening again. What followed was a shocking cold indifference. Governor Mark White and friends could turn deaf ears. Bills sponsored by legislators were to be grounded in committees and not released for floor votes. This was their response for addressing humane legislation and their special statement on the Falls County horse tragedy. The one ray of hope has been with Attorney General Jim Mattox’s office. He really tried to help but his legal limitation was tied to the restrictions of Texas Code 42:11 where the State Attorney General cannot intercede in violations of the Code when it is a county function to investigate and prosecute. Now let us examine the humane record of Governor White and his “front office” since October 1983: 1.Falls County horse tragedy: a total whitewash of any state responsibility. There was never an adequate inquiry by the Governor’s office, even after the national news media ran repeated stories of the event on prime time television and on the front page of newspapers. 2.Committee for drawing up procedural legislation to deal with future animal emergency situations: on October 29, 1984, an aide to Governor White called a meeting of several members of animal rights groups, in response to criticisms of Governor White’s inaction in Falls County. An agreement was reached with the Humane Society of the United States, represented by Bill Meade and with other organizations, for Bill Meade to draw up needed legislation to deal with preventing large scale animal abuse situations. Such legislation was drawn up but Governor White refused to find someone to sponsor the legislation. Four months was ample time to get this legislation passed given the power and prestige of the Governor’s office. From the appearance of the sudden rejection, the entire effort by Governor White was a well-planned charade designed to pacify outraged committee participants. Above my desk is a picture of a THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5