Letters to the Editor, Sept. 20

Conservative thoughts

Two items have outstripped inflation during the past decades: medical care and education. Why?

One obvious reason for increased costs of medicine is good: new understandings, treatments and technologies (some scanning devices cost in excess of $1M). But why does every “first rate” hospital have to own one? They could be shared. Prestige costs excessive money.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, my family saw a physician whose fee was $3 per office visit and a house call (really!) was $5. Now with inflation a consultation is at least $100 and house calls are hardly even remembered.

Then every patient knew what he/she was paying. With the advent of insurance and government entitlements, few know what’s being charged. (And, don’t care.) So, that has made many physicians increase fees as a result of avarice.

Education: in 1973, when I began graduate school at Columbia, my aunt who had attended during the 1940’s. She asked me how much I paid for tuition. “$96.” She was shocked and told me that she had paid $10. This is a pattern which envelopes almost all universities – college and graduate school. Now Columbia, the other Ivy League schools and even the overrated NYU, charge over $1,200 per credit.

Why? Certainly Columbia has an endowment of about a zillion dollars. The cost exists because they can and students keep on applying. Loans have to be taken by many students.

Public primary and secondary education keep on receiving more monies – yet the result is that today’s undergraduates are being exposed to yesterday’s high school curriculum.

For medical care and education to be effective, the free market should be used: be sure to let patients know what is being paid per visit and procedure. (The higher the fee, the more insurance has to be paid.) And universities must be made more demanding in curriculum and far more competitive in their fees – so that post graduates are not burdened for practically the remainder of their lives.

Some on the right speak of “European socialism.” Well, some unworkable and ineffective form is what’s going on here.

David Chowes, PCV

Animal behavior

As a follow up to my letter of August 16, “Dog policy is not warm and fuzzy for all,” I would like to share with you how some dog-owning neighbors behave and give another reason why I do not want dogs in the complex.

This morning when I exited my apartment, one of my neighbor’s dog defecated and urinated in front of the elevators, did not bother to clean it up and someone (not sure if it was the dog owner or not) covered the excrement with a piece of paper. Since there are three apartments on my floor with dogs, I do not know who is responsible. Just another example of how some dog owners have no regard for their neighbors.

Barbara Bienenfeld, ST

Appreciating Hoylman’s ‘legacy’ piece

Dear T&V,

In your August 23 issue, Brad Hoylman’s “Preserving ST/PCV housing legacy” piece was strong and on the money concerning thoughts to save Stuy Town and Peter Cooper for the middle class. Well said.

Also Chris Hagedorn’s “What I did on my summer vacation,” supposedly written by his dog, was a delight. He’s still got it and is as interesting as ever.


Richard Luksin,
Minneapolis, MN

One thought on “Letters to the Editor, Sept. 20

  1. RE: Conservative Thoughts Blog

    Ahh, the old saw, the world was better in the past, especially health care. When average life expectancy was in the 60′s? When people died or were maimed because we didn’t have antibiotics or vaccines? When polio and other dread diseases and inflictions flourished worldwide? When dentistry meant mostly extracting, not filling or reconstructing, teeth? And on and on.

    Complain about health care costs, but please deal with what we need to correct while we’re still alive, not ruminating about things in the past that simply weren’t true. And, by the way, European socialism, to use your term, works beautifully in Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, and other countries. Would that we had healthcare equal to some of those systems. Healthcare should be a right, not a business.

    But, like you, I agree with the need to cut unnecessary healthcare costs wherever we can, but how do you do that when, as you suggest, the current system is all about building a bigger legacy or making more money than the next institution or MD? One obvious solution for each of us as individuals: Don’t go to the doctor or hospital for every LITTLE sting or scratch or scrape or cough or stuffy nose or sore throat or headache. Man-up and woman-up more; make sure what’s bothering you is serious. More visits increases demand. Demand, in turn, causes prices to rise. Minimize the demand for healthcare but not via punitive government legislation.

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