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June 30, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-06-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, June 30, 1977
News Phone: 764-0552
SRe~gardless of verdiCt,
VA trial sinister farce
AS THE END of the Veterans Administration Hospital
nurses trial draws to a close, the U.S. attorneys
drawn the first verdict: guilty of first degree mockery
of the American system of justice. As a result, Filipina
Narciso and Leonora Perez have literally played the game
for -their lives.,
The nurses, charged with a series of poisonings at
the Ann Arbor hospital in the summer of 1975, some
of which resulted in death, now await the return of
their verdict, expected before Independence Day.
After two years of investigation, three months of
testimony and $1 million to bring the case to trial, the
travesty of the courts becomes ever clearer and more
sinister. The case should never have seen the light of
the trial.
The decision to hold the reverse kangaroo court was
entirely in the hands of the prosecutors, from Richard
Delonis and Richard Yanko, the trial attorneys, to U.S.
Attorney Philip Van Dam.
The prosecution patently ignored what would norm-
ally be considered fertile areas for testimony. One such
area was the testimony of William Miller, a patient dur-
ing the summer of "75, who stayed directly across the
hall (and could see all activity) from John Herman.
Herman was found dead after a breathing failure which
the prosecution claims was induced by the drug Pavulon.
All poisonings were said to have been the result of in-
jections of Pavulon, a powerful muscle relaxant.
The prosecution also ignored the testimony of one
of the victims of the poisonings, presumably because
that testimony would undercut the shred of a case
against Perez and Narciso. Instead, this case proved
to be only case in history in which the defense, and
not the prosecution, called for that testimoney.
The list of perversions is, unfortunately, unbearably
long, as persons following the trial closely could testify.
It has all been a long and tiresome tale of injustice
and harrassment.of the two nurses standing trial. Only
part of this inhuman mockery has been the reported
harrassment of the defendants by investigators.
Perez was told she might not see her son again, if
she did not confess to the crimes. Narciso was warned
to light a candle for herself in church.
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National medical plans
not the greatest answer

By MARTIN BROWN
With President Carter's prom-
ised backing, Congress is like-
ly to pass a national health in
surance plan within the next
yearfor two. If so, Uncle Sam
will be writing many -- or most
- citizens' medical care checks,
easing the staggering financial
burden of getting sick in Ameri-
ca.
Health care costs will keep
skyrocketing, despite Carter's
efforts to ground themruntil
a comprehensive national health
plan replaces the jerry-built sys-
tem that now encourages need-
less spending by hospitals and
doctors.
A growing number of medical
finance specialists believe the
cost of health care depends not
on whether it's public or pri-
vate, but on how it is organ-
ized.
PROPOSALS for national
health insurance plans now be-
fore Congress are meant to ease
many inequities and to aid in
better distribution of medical
resources. Yet, unless Congress
agrees to a plan which funda-
mentally, alters the way public
money is spent, it might do less
for the nation's health than for
the incomes of doctors and hos-
pitals.
Carter, though committed to
a nationalehealth system, has
warned "reform of the delivery
system must accompany fi-
nancing reform. Our purpose
must 'be to promote health, not
just provide health care as
such.'
In the U.S., roughly $60 billion
a year in federal money is dis-
persed through a plethora of
public and private, profit and
non-profit agencies. Few are ac-
countable to either the consum-
er or the government.
And the funds are dispersed
without regard to the total ef-
fect on health care. As a re-
sult, analysts believe, govern-
ment aid and aompetitive eco-
nomics have encouraged:
* excess purchase of
epenaive equipment

* and, the neglect of many
health care needs for which
government incentives
are lacking.
Carter has also stressed the
need for preventive medicine,
going beyong- bio-medical re-
search and physical examina-
tions to measures to "reduce
the need for more expensive
hospital treatment."
Of the plans now under con-
sideration, the one closest to
meeting such needs - though
still lacking a basic reorganiza-
tion component - appears tO
be the Kennedy-Corman bill. It
would cover all citizens and
most medical services, provid-
ing a choice of insurance plans.
Financing would be partly by
employer-employe payroll tax,
partly from general revenues.
ADMINISTRATION would be
handled thriough a national
health insurance board within
the Social Security Administra-
tion, thus channeling most funds
through the government rather
than private insurance compan-
ies.
Given a slightly better chance
of passage is the much narrow-
er Long-Ribicoff bill. It would
provide "catastrophic health in-
surance" designed to keep fami-
lies from going bankrupt be-
cause of extraordinary medical
bills. It would supplement exist-
ing insurance plans and be fund-
ed by payroll taxes and federal/
state general revenues. The
model basically is Medicare.

The American Medical Asso-
ciation's plan - Medicredit -
would give consumers tax cred-
its for private insurance or pre-
paid plan membership. The very
poor would be given certificates
to buy insurance, with subsidies
of a sliding scale according to
income.
There would be no provisions
for quality or cost controls. And
a specific prohibition is includ-
ed against government-spionsor-
ed charge in the organization of
health care.
Even the most extensive and
stringent of the proposals, the
Kennedy-Corman bill, fails tr
address the problem that health
care in this cpuntry is, essen-
tially, disease-treatment.
DR. LEON R. KASS, profes
soc of bio-ethics, neurology and
philosophy at Georgetown Uni-
versity, noted the current pro
posals "will simply make avail-
able to \the non-insured what
the privately insured now get:
a hospital-centered, highly tech-
nological, disease-oriented, ther-
apy-centered medical care.
"The proposals have entirely
ignored the question of whethet
what we now do in health is
what we should be doing ..The
irony is that real econQizing
in health care is probably pos-
sible only by radically reorient-
ing the pursuit of health."
Martin Brown is the science
editor of Pacific News Service.

Contact your reps
Sen. Donald Riegle (Dem.), 1205 Dirksen Bldg., Washing-
ton, D.C. 20510
Sen. Robert Griffin (Rep.), 353 Russell Bldg., Capitol Hill,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Rep. Carl Pursell (Rep.), 1709 Longworth house Office Bldg.,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Gilbert Bursley (Rep.), Senate, State Capitol Bldg.,
Lansing, MI 48933.
Rep. Perry Bullard (Dem.), House of Representatives, Stats
Capitol Bldg., Lansing, MI 48933.

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