C, he Michigan D attl
Vol. XCIV, No. 13-S
94 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
THE DEPARTMENT of Health and
Human Services has come up with an idea
which could make major, desperately needed
changes in the health care industry.
The proposal, strongly backed by a number
of health care consumer groups, would release
an unprecedented amount of non-confidential
statistical information about health care costs
and mortality rates at hospitals across the
If it receives final approval, the HHS
proposal could be a godsend for the nation's
health-care consumers. For the first time, the
public would have access to information
which would allow some level of price and
quality competition among hospitals and
physicians. The change would start to give
health care providers a real, market-based in-
centive to cut costs and improve quality.
Predictably, the American Medical
Association and other organizations with
similar interests have denounced the
proposal. They argue that releasing the in-
formation would mislead, rather than inform,
the public, and that the proposal would
destroy the medical profession's system of
self-discipline. In essence, they claim that the
medical profession is in a much better position
to make judgments on hospitals, costs, and
health care quality than patients.
The AMA argument ignores a number of
important points. Precisely because the
medical profession deals with people's lives,
the consuming public must have the greatest
possible amount of information before making
decisions. Restricting information by placing
it exclusively in the hands of a self-interested
cartel is more an argument for enriching
physicians than for controlling health care
As the AMA points out, the risk of the HHS
data being misinterpreted is real. Different
hospitals and physicians, for example,
naturally have different mortality rates
because of differences in clientele and
specialization, rather than differences in
competency. But in such cases where the raw
statistics might be misleading, hospitals, in-
dividuals, doctors, and the AMA itself would
be perfectly free to make their interpretation
of the data available.
Given the importance and cost of health
care, the public must be able to make in-
telligent and informed decisions. The final ap-
proval of the HHS proposal will be a
significant step in that direction.
Tuesday, June 5, 1984
The Michigan Daily
Dy 'ever notice hospitals? I have ...
By Eric Mattson
(To be read with the tone
and cadence of Andy
I've always been bothered by
people who have been
hospitalized with a "cool" injury.
A "cool" injury includes any type
of glamourous or semi-
glamourous accident, like
breaking a leg while skiing or
stubbing a toe rescuing a child
from a burning building.
My experiences with the
medical community have been
far less spectacular.
THE FIRST time I was in a
hospital was naturally at birth,
which, although it is a truly spec-
tacular phenonemon, did not con-
stitute a great effort on my part.
Most of the difficult work was ac-
complished by my mother, I'm
The next time I encountered a
hospital stay was when I was
about five. I had developed
(horrors!) a urine infection. To
make matters worse, I misun-
derstood what the doctors and my
parents told me-I thought I had
an ear infection.
Imagine my chagrin when nur-
ses began putting tubes in odd
places and taking urine samples
all the time. I quickly informed
them that I had an ear infection
and couldn't understand what the
hell they were doing, but to no
avail. What a nightmare.
THE ONLY time I ever had
stitches was when I was in seven-
th grade, but it didn't occur as I
was playing football or doing,
something similarly macho: It
happened when I ran into a lad-
der which was hidden in the
All right, maybe it wasn't very
hidden. At least this time I knew
where the injury was-my left
knee still bears a three-stitch-
The last time I took a trip to the
hospital was during my freshman
year in high school. This, I'm
afraid, was the least cool of my
SOME NEIGHBORHOOD kids
and I were playing some sort of
game in my backyard, frollicking
freely through the grass. And
then it happened.
I swear I didn't see our dog un-
til it was too late. By that time, I
had accidently kicked or tripped
over the bitch, depending on
whose version you listen to.
My toe has never been the
Since I didn't realize I had
broken my toe-the dog was fine,
of course-I didn't go to the
hospital until about 24 hours
later. A bit of advice: Don't go to
the hospital with a broken toe. My
parents wasted hard-earned
money to have two of my toes
taped together and be advised
that I should wear hard-soled
EVEN THE shoes were a pain,
since I had to wear dress shoes to
a Chicago Cubs game. And we
were sitting in the bleachers. It's
embarrassing enough to be seen
at a Cubs' game, but it's even
worse to be seen there wearing
So that's it. No casts to sign, no
heroic tales to tell, just a few in-
conveniences and another check
for my parents to sign.
Maybe I should go skiing more
Mattson is a Daily staff
writer who actually thinks
Andy Rooney isfunny.
Reason for hope in the Gulf War
By Franz Schurrmann FOR THE first time since the from his total loathing of Saddam
Cold War began, the United Hussein. Yet if this newest Al-
The scenario that seems to be States and the Soviet Union find Fajr fails like the earlier ones,
unfolding in the Persian Gulf War themselves on the same side of a Iran faces the certainty of an in-
is of Iran threatening another of- major conflict. The United States creasingly internationalized con-
fensive and Iraq countering with currently is "tilting" towards flict that will wreck its lucrative
moves to internationalize the Iraq. The Soviets have been pro- foreign trade.
w ar. Iraq since Iraq lurched to the left
To many observers that could in 1956. In addition, Iraq benefit- The Teheran rulers must see
signal an ominous turn. It could s from significant arms shipmen- that internationalization is a
bring Iranian attacks elsewhere ts from France which is the strategem all their "satanic"
in the Arab world. It could lead to world's third biggest arms sup- enemies are concocting to put
Soviet countermoves to balance plier. pressure on them to end the war.
the growth of an American Iran has virtually no outside Yet Iran, despite its
military presence in the Gulf. support to match those powerful revolutionary fanaticism, is a
And-even though world con- friends of Iraq. Its chief arms nation caught up in the pace of
sumers are far less dependent on supplier is remote and self- modernization. Economic
Middle East oil than they were a isolating North Korea. Syria is isolation will put even severer
decade ago-it could mean hardly a trustworthy supporter. burdens on country and people.
heightened world inflation. And Libya's Muammar Khadafy And if victory is not forthcoming,
EXCEPT FOR Iran, everyone has his hands full at home. what are they going to do?
wants the war to end. The Iraqis Does Iran have popular support '
may be the prime culprits inter- in the overall Islamic world to Internationalism of the war
nationalizing the war, but they balance off its lack of gayer- means, in effect, the complete
are desperate to end it along the nmental friends and allies? The political and economic isolation
stalemate lines that now prevail. evidence is ambigious. For years of Iran. This has never before
All the Gulf states as well as Jor- there were rumors that the happened to any revolutionary
dan have been anxious for the Muslim Brotherhood had secret power in recent history, since
war to end since it began in Sep- links to the Islamic revolution in there always was the option of
tember 1980. Iran. Yet reports from Egypt in- turning to the Soviets, to China,
There is no evidence that Syria dicate the brotherhood is busying or, on occasion, to the United
preoccupied in Lebanon, wants itself with internal Egyptian States.
the war to go on. Certainly politics. Iran would never capitulate to
Ronald Reagan hardly wants KHOMEINI'S picture hangs all the demands of Saddam Hussein
another war on his hands when he over West Beirut, but there is no to end the war. But faced with
is trying to look peace-minded till indication that Lebanese Shi'ites such isolation and international
next November. And even the are about to risk their lives for pressure, the men of Teheran just
Russians, still fighting in some revolution that is to reform possible could decide to find a
Afghanistan, have privately told all of Islam. Iraq's majority face-saving way out of the war
the Americans they would not ob- Shi'ite population so far has rather than plod on with one of-
ject if the U.S. tried to keep the remained loyal to the Saddam fensive after another.
Gulf sea lanes open. Hussein regime.
Iran might indeed launch Iraq's Saddam Hussein sud- Schurrmann teaches history
another of its Al-Fajr, or "Dawn denly has become puffed up with at the Universit Calrnia
of a New Era, offenses. Yet the his new strength and talks of ty lifo
shrewd leaders in Teheran know bringing Iran down to its knees. at Berkeley. He wrote this ar-
full well that this time they will And it is inconceivable that the tic/e for the Pacific News Ser-
face more than just Iraq. Ayatollah would ever back down vice.