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October 23, 1980 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-23

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U

Page 6-Thursday, October 23, 1980-The Michigan Daily

Soviets say harvest bleak

Health system reaps big profits

MOSCOW (AP)-The Soviet Union
yesterday reported a dismal 1980 grain
harvest and promised top-level efforts
to solve food problems complicated by
,the partial U.S. embargo on grain sales
since Soviet troops entered
Afghanistan.
Figures announced at a meeting of
the Supreme Soviet, the 1,500-member
national Parliament, showed a harvest
of about 181 million metric tons this
year, 54 million tons below the announ-
ced goal of 235 million tons. The crop,
the second poor one in a row, was '9
million tons less than the lowest U.S.
prediciton. /
THE UNITED STATES is supplying 8
million metric tons of grain to the
Soviets this year under an agreement
concluded before the Soviet move into
Afghanistan. President Carter suspen-
ded shipfnent of an additional 17 million
tons after the Afghan move 10 months
ago.
In Peking, meanwhile, China yester-
day signed an agreement with the
United States to buy 6 million to 8
million metric tons of U.s. grain a year

for the next four years at market
prices.
The agreement, effective Jan. 1,
gives China the option of buying a total
of 9 million tons within a year without
giving prior notice to the U.S. gover-
nment, but Peking must consult with
Washington if it wants to buy more than
that.
IN WASHINGTON, Agriculture
Secretary Bob Bergland denied that the
timing of the pact was intended to
promote President Carter's re-election.
"This grain agreement has been un-
der study for two years and
negotiations have been under way since
May," Bergland said. "There's nothing
new or unusual about this."
U.S. officials said that in the current
1980-81 fiscal year, China already is ex-
pected to buy more than $2 billion worth
of U.S. farm commodities, including
about 6 million metric tons of wheat, 2.5
million metric tons of corn, almost one
million metric tons of soybeans, and 2
million bales of cotton.
THEY SAID the agreement is
designed to help trade expansion and

U.S. production planning through
greater availability of information on
Chinese import requirements.
U.S. sources say the Soviet Union is
expected to import 30 million metric
tons of grain in 1980-81 from various
sources and possibly more if it is
available.
Economic planning chief Nicolai
Baibakov did not explicitly give a
figure for the 1980 Soviet grain harvest.
He said production in 1976-80 was 12
percent higher than in 1971-75. That in-
dicated a crop of about 181 million
metric tons, 2 million tons above 1979.
Baibakov said the next Soviet
economic plan would place "top level
importance on solving the food
problem."
He did not specify what resources
might be diverted to give agriculture
and consumer goods more attention.
But the plan he announced was the first
in recent years in which the 4.1 percent
growth of heavy industry was planned
to be slightly smaller than the growth of
light industry, which includes con-
sumer goods.
His announcement came a day after
Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev, at a
meeting of the 250-member Communist
Party Central Committee, noted a
series of economic problems, including
difficulties in providing meat and milk
to some cities.

BOSTON (AP)-The explosive growth of private clinics,
hospitals and other profit-making medical services over the
past decade poses "potentially troubling implications" for
the American health system and could make illness even
more expensive, the editor of the New England Journal of
Medicine said.
Writing in today's edition of the journal, Dr. Arnold
Relman said the emergence of this "medical-industrial
complex," a $40 billion-a-year array of money-making
health businesses, has been virtually unnoticed by all but
investors.
"THE MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL complex is an un-
precedented phenomenon with broad and potentially
troubling implications for the future of our medical care
system," he wrote..
These businesses accounted for about a quarter of the
total amount spent on personal health care in the United
States last year, he said.
"It has attracted remarkably little attention so far, ex-
cept on Wall Street," he said, "but in my opinion it is the
most important recent development in American health
care, and it is in urgent need of study."
THE LENGTHY, highly detailed article is likely to spur
considerable debate in the medical world because it was
published in what is often regarded as the nation's most
prestigious medical journal.
The businesses sell lucrative kinds of health care that un-
til recently were provided only by nonprofit hospitals or in-
dividual doctors. Among the businesses are private
hospitals and nursing homes, companies that give nursing
care in patients' homes, diagnostic laboratories and clinics
that provide kidney dialysis.
Relman said he was not including in his analysis com-
panies that manufacture drugs and medical equipment.

. i
Private enterprise may be able to provide health care
more efficiently than the government or nonprofit
businesses, Relman said.
"BUT THE FACT remains that they are in business to in-
crease their total sales," and this is likely to lead to ever
higher medical bills.
"We will have to find some way of preserving the advan-
tages of a private health care industry without giving it free
rein and inviting gross commercial exploitation," he wrote.
The best kind of regulation should come from physicians,
who decide which tests and care are in their patients' best
interests, Relman said. To avoid conflict, doctors should
give up their financial interests in these businesses, he said,
even though physicians often invest in the firms.
"THE NEW HEALTH care industry is not only very
large, but it is also expanding rapidly and is highly
profitable," Relman wrote. The income of private hospitals
is growing at 15 to 20 percent a year, while lab business is
growing 15 percent annually.
Anong other services being offered for a profit are in-
dustrial health screening, weight-control clinics, drug-
abuse programs and cardiopulmonary testing.
Much of the field is dominated by large corporations. A
firm called National Medical Care, for example, provided
17 percent of all long-term kidney dialysis last year.
Some of the private hospitals engage in "cream skin-
ning," Relman said. They provide the most profitable kinds
of services to the best-paying customers and non-profit
hospitals are left with unprofitable services and poor
patients.
The private health care industry could also mount a
powerful lobbying effort to stop such changes as national
health insurance, he asserted.

0

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__

U.S. students

WASHINGTON (AP)-The nation
has lost the momentum of its post-
Sputnik commitment to science and
most Americans are headed "toward
virtual scientific and technological
illiteracy," a report commissioned by'
the White House says.

The study released yesterday con-
cludes that the United States lags
behind the Soviet Union, Japan, and
Germany in, the rigor of elementary
and secondary school programs in
mathematics and science.
"WE FEAR A loss of our competitive

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prepared by the Department of decades ahead," it said.
Education and the National Science It said unless "the current trend
Foundation on orders from President toward virtual scientific and
Carter. technological illiteracy is reversed,"
It cited "a serious shortage" of high important national decisions would be
school math and science teachers and, made on the basis of "ignorance and
at the college level, "severe shortages misunderstanding."
of qualified faculty members" in com- After the Soviet Union launched
puter and most engineering fields. Sputnik, the first satellite, ins October
Despite a big overall drop in test 1957, the federal government augmen-
scores, math and science- majors' ted its research commitments and
scores remain high on both the helped develop courses to teach future
Scholastic Aptitude Test and the scientists.
Graduate Record Examination, the, Those post-Sputnik programs served
study said, adding, "those who are the their purpose, the report said, but it
best seem to be learning about as much cited a "desperate need" for courses
as they ever did, while the majority of for non-science majors that "could
students learn less and less." provide students with a better basis for
"THE NUMBER OF young people understanding and dealing with the
who graduate from high school and science and technology they encounter
college with only the most rudimentary as citizens, workers and private in-
notions of science, mathematics, and dividuals:"

Ends Tonight: "THE GREAT SANTINI"
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MM

Tax-cut fever moves
quickly across nation

Antiquarian

MART FELMAIZ ENDS TONIGHTI
PETER BOYLE SEEMRI
i~e~rst ~ I ~heJ
Thurs-7:00,1015 Thurs-8:40
Fri-6:40, 10:20 TWO GREAT COMEDIANS!!!

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From The Associated Press
Nearly 21/2 years after California
voters shook the political establishment
by approving Proposition 13, tax-cut
fever is spreading faster than ever
across the nation.
On Nov. 4, voters in 18 states will con-
sider various tax-cutting amendments
and initiatives, by far the most states to
do so in a single election year.
The so-called tax revolt continues
unabated despite the unusual absence
of Californians. In June, voters there
defeated "Jaws II," a proposition by
Howard Jarvis that would have cut
state income taxes in half.
THIS NOVEMBER, states like South
Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and
Utah are considering measures patter-
ned after Proposition 13, which rolled
back property taxes to earlier levels,
then capped them for the future. The
Utah measure would also eliminate
sales tax on food.

But propositions in other states would4
go to very different lengths to carve
back taxes.'
Iowa voters are considering a
measure dubbed "Con-Con," a proposal
to call a state constitutional conventkon.
Its backers, including "Iowans fJr Tax
Relief," make no bones that the first
order of business would be an amen-
dment to rein in state taxes permanen-
tly.
AMONG THE HARDEST fought tax
battles are being waged in three large,
industrial states-Michigan,
Massachusetts, and Ohio.
Ohio provides a twist-a tax
proposition with the enthusiastic endor-
sement of public employee unions, in-
cluding the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Em-
ployees (AFSCME).
AFSCME Director of Economic Af-
fairs Marcia Caprio terms Issue 2 the
"classic labor-citizen-big business con-
frontation."

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