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October 13, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-13

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 13, 1995

ulE z £irittn 3itailg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

BRENT MCINTosH MCINTOSH CLASSICS
RollerbladA'zg: By anyone's
I &measure, superhor to real 4fe

Undess otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily 's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
A healthySiotmAet
QuestionsMaboundvwithn SAhealth plan

ichigan Student Assembly President
Flint Wainess has brought the crown
jewel of his agenda to the floor of MSA. His
proposal to provide mandatory health insur-
ance to all University students by a national
carrier or local HMO is staggering in its
complexities. The controversy surrounding
the proposal exemplifies the changing role of
MSA - rather than a little-known political
body, it is becoming an increasingly relevant
and powerful force in students' lives.
The plan contains coverage for pre-exist-
ing conditions, 10 visits to counseling cen-
ters, outside psychiatric care and $1 million
in catastrophic care, as well as a provision for
outside coverage in the state of Michigan.
The estimates of how much such coverage
would cost arevague, ranging anywhere from
$200 to $900. These prices are predicated on
MSA's ability to get a fantastic volume-
based deal from the University Medical Cen-
ter and on the assumption that a large number
of students would sign up. They also assume
a cut-rate deal for a health-care administra-
tor. With no administrator named, estimating

fore implementing any plan, MSA must fur-
ther study the needs of all students -not
only graduate students - and the likelihood
of a favorable arrangement from the Univer-
sity Medical Center.
Another glaring problem with the pro-
posal is the localized exemption plan. To be
exempt from the plan, students must be able
to prove that they are covered in Ann Arbor.
Someone served by a national carrier such as
a mutual plan or Blue Cross/Blue Shield
would be exempt if his or her insurance plan
covered visits to an Ann Arbor doctor. How-
ever, families with HMO plans in other cities
would be forced to buy into the plan, as
HMOs generally are restricted to local cov-
erage in that area -forcing such families to
pay for two plans instead of one. Families
with coverage could waive the fee and pay
less than they currently pay to UHS - a
reduction in the fee to just $34 from $96.50.
While this is certainly positive, it remains
unclear where the figures come from and
how UHS, as a provider, would be affected
by the new plan.

There must be something vaguely and
pleasingly arrogant about rollerblading.
Unlike every other able-bodied colle-
gian in the known universe, I don't
rollerblade. I'm not sure why, but I've never
been caught up by the in-line skating craze.
Nonetheless, I always view rollerblading as
having a certain singular mystique.
First, there's the wholeheight thing: when
you put on 'blades, you suddenly gain six
inches. And six inches is a lot - just ask
John Wayne Bobbitt.
You may be 5-foot-2, but rollerblades
can transform you. Put them on, and you
suddenly go from being Danny DeVito to
starting at shooting guard for the New York
Knicks. Having ajumpshot is not required of
Knicks' guards.
Second, there's the name of the things:
"Rollerblades."
I know they're supposed to be referred to
as in-line skates, and I know Rollerblades is
a brand name, with uninfringible copyrights
and slick, Armani-suited lawyers ad nau-
seam. "In-line skating," however,just steals
the romanticism from rollerblading - it's a
little like calling a towering home run "the
act of removing a baseball to a far quadrant
of a large ampitheatre."
"Rollerblading" is cocky, fluid and a
little brash. It's the footwear equivalent of
rap music - except, of course, that people
rarely get shot, and Shaquille O'Neal might
actually be good at it.
Rollerbladers virtually ooze superiority
as they slide quickly by you on your way to
class. They're so exponentially cooler than
you that you'd think they were from New
Jersey.
When you, the pedestrian in a city of
pedestrians, see someone you know but re-

ally don't want to talk to, you-by virtue of
the near total lack of momentum walking
provides - feel obligated to stop and say
things like "Hi, how are you? How's the
family? Is Billy Joe still in prison? Yeah?
Well, anyway ... you look great! You fi-
nally went and had that nasty wart removed!
Good for you!"
The rollerblader, on the other hand, has
no such obligations. It's like that Matthew
Wilder song from the musically bankrupt
1980s: "Nobody gonna break my stride/
nobody gonna slow me down/Oh, no!/I've
got to keep on moving." (You thought you'd
never hear that song again, didn't you?)
By the time you recognize someone when
you're 'blading, and by the time they recog-
nize you, it's too late. You barely have to
acknowledge them. You're by them, with
little more than a "Hey, whassup, dude?"
That's another thing. Rollerblading
makes even the most fastidious English
speaker address others as "dude." It's part of
the rollerblading culture. It is well-known in
skating circles that the first time Rush
Limbaugh rollerbladed, he commented, "It
is difficult to imagine the momentum that is
building up within my massive frame, dude.
Not that I'm fat, dude. Hey, let's kill off the
poor, dude."
(Limbaugh's rollerblades later exploded
due to excess structural tension, maiming
several bystanders. Unfortunately, the talk-
show icon was unhurt.)
While the use of the term "dude" is also
a facet of skateboard culture, the two cul-
tures should not be confused. Rollerblading
culture is decidedly and superlatively main-
stream; skateboarding is exactly the oppo-
site.
Skateboard culture is about listening to

music that sounds like cats scratching each
other to death, having rings in parts of one's
body that Bob Dole would have us believe
do not exist, and wearing pants so big that
drivers often mistake them for parking ramps
and attempt to stash their Nissans therein.
Another dichotomy between the two
wheeled cultures is their respective reaction
to crashes. Rollerbladers are never supposed
to fall, slip, hit parked 1974 Buicks, mangle
occasional squirrels, bloody themselves or
others or otherwise provide any substantive
clue that they are less than Greek gods. They
are held to the same standard of excellence
that we use for the president, Pete Sampras
and U2.
Skateboarding, by way of cohtrast, is
centered on exactly those endangering-my-
life-and-not-really-caring-type things. If a
skateboarder doesn't hit a park bench, col-
lapse into a crumpled heap of oversized
clothing, then pop up saying "Wicked bail,
huh, dude?" - and if that doesn't happen at
least once a day - the skateboarder is se-
verely chastised by his peers, who question
his dedication to true edge-of-the-envelope
skating and shun him in what anthropolo-
gists refer to as a common tribal ritual.
But enough about skateboarding. Skate-
boarding is inherently inferior to roller-
blading because of the number of wheels
involved. That more must be better is obvi-
ous, especially to those who drive monster
trucks and think Texas is really cool.
Besides, you'll rarely see a fraternity boy
on a skateboard, while nearly every frat boy
on campus has 'blades. And anything that
frat boys do must be cool, right?
- Brent McIntosh can be reached over
e-mail at mctosh@umich.edu.

EDITORS' NOTE

bureaucratic costs now is
little more than guesswork.
There is a real need for
some sort of health insur-
ance provider beyond Uni-
versity Health Service. Stu-
dents who have an emer-
gency during an evening or
weekend when UHS is
closed currently have to
visit the hospital, which can
cost hundreds or thousands
of dollars. In addition, the
UHS fee does not cover
treatment for many pre-ex-
isting conditions and the

Heath Care
for tU'

Currently, there is little
to model a public univer-
sity mandatory health in-
surance plan after - while
plans similar in concept
have been introduced at
several places, few have
seen implementation.
Hence, MSA is essentially
working with a blank slate.
This could be beneficial -
assembly members have
the opportunity to fashion
a plan exemplary among
public universities. How-
ever, there is also the po-

Plagiarism is a serious problem at the University, and it should not
be tolerated. At The Michigan Daily, we neither condone nor accept
plagiarism.
Recently, a column published on the Daily's Editorial Page came
under scrutiny for its similarity to a column that had been printed in
another publication. While the author, James R. Cho, has denied any

intentional wrongdoing, he does not want the integrity of the Daily or
of himself to come into question. For this reason, he has tendered his
resignation. We thank James for his loyalty and dedication to the
Daily.
-Michael Rosenberg, Editor in Chie]
Julie Becker and James M. Nash, Editorial Page Editors

service is not staffed to handle emergencies
beyond broken limbs. The idea of paying
more and getting more in return is valid, and
the plan addresses the need to revamp the
current health system. Stabilizing UHS fund-
ing and providing a means to cover students
with little or no health insurance is important,
as is improving student access to the Univer-
sity Hospital and expanding psychological
counseling services.
However, a proposal as serious as "man-
datory-with-waiver" health insurance must
be examined thoroughly and carefully. First,
whether MSA has the qualifications to un-
dertake the project of insuring 36,000 stu-
dents is in itself questionable. Second, al-
though the plan has been presented under the
expert advice of health care consultant
Stephen L. Beckley, it contains numerous
holes that leave many serious concerns about
the validity of the proposed program.
The plan sounds wonderful - but it is
unlikely that its advertised price tag will hold
up. Wainess' proposal is all-encompassing,
and the costs for similar existing programs
have been much, higher than his estimate.
The $500 per year his plan projects would
require a huge volume of student participa-
tion. Given that fewer than 15 percent of the
students Beckley surveyed lacked health in-
surance, it is not certain that such a large
group could be attained - especially since
all students surveyed were Rackham stu-
dents, who are not necessarily representative
of the student body as a whole. The plan also
assumes, perhaps prematurely, that Univer-
sity hospitals will charge substantially less
for their services. If either of these assump-
tions prove false, costs could skyrocket. Be-

tential for the proposal to balloon into a mess
far greater than MSA or even the University
can handle. The plan assumes that MCare,
the University's faculty care plan, could ad-
minister the program. But there is no basis to
assume that the largely successful MCare
program could apply to student health with-
out greatly straining its current bureaucracy.
Wainess and other supporters of the pro-
posal are right to say that student health is an
integral part of the University experience.
Any development of the proposal will have
to hammer out many of the details in a more
convincing and concrete manner. Liberal
exemption rules must be applied and the
complexity of HMO coverage must be ad-
dressed. Further, Wainess must determine
what the extent of student influence in such
a plan would be. Would a transformed MCare
administer it solely? Would a student board
run the program with University administra-
tors? Will the University appoint a "vice
president for health services"? Will there be
an advisory board of health care specialists
with student representation? Or is it best for
students, for lack of expertise, to leave the
debate completely?
These serious questions need to be an-
swered. If MSA is going to undertake a
program as serious as health care, members
need to take it seriously enough to recognize
that implementing this proposal in any form
will take months of debate and research. The
plan could not possibly take effect before
Wainess' term as president expires in March
- meaning his successors must take the
initiative for researching and finally imple-
menting this complex yet crucial plan to
insure students.

JIM LASSER
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
IT'S MAKIN C MY
LOOK LIKE*.... L
l < ;

is so W
COLLE6E
KEd. " t

. A,
-AERCA

SHARP AS TOAST
-

'c.!I, I

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"Attention to
health is life's
greatest
hindrance."
- Plato

LETTERS

Acquittal no
cause for
celebration
To the Daily:
If I were a battered woman, I
certainly would not want James
R. Cho, author of"Emotion battles
intellect in reaction to Simpson
verdict" (10/9/95), on the jury.
His editorial is perhaps the most
bizarre thing I have ever seen the
Daily publish. He has the nerve to
dance on the graves of two inno-
cent people, sympathizing with
Mr. Simpson on a level usually
reserved for Holocaust victims
and Bosnian refugees. While ac-
knowledging Mr. Simpson's
guilt, the author still felt com-
pelled to celebratesthe acquittal
of an abuser whom he himself
believes terrorized and finally
murdered his ex-wife along with
an innocent man.
He calls the verdict a victory
for many blacks, Asians, Latinos
and other minorities. Conspicu-
ously absent from his list were
women of all races and Jews. It
would be tough trying to con-
vince women that acquitting a
possessive man who killed his
wife in ajealous rage is supposed
to empower them or make them

of Nicole Simpson killed with
such force that she was nearly
decapitated, rained on my parade.
He wanted to see Simpson "screw
a system" that convicted U.S. Rep.
Mel Reynolds for statutory rape.
Racism did not cause Reynolds'
sexual misconduct;his own moral
shortcomings did.
The author then describes a
feeling of despondency that re-
sulted after the acquittal of the
four police officers in the first
Rodney King trial. He should be
reminded that not everyone felt
this sense of despondency. In fact,
Mark Fuhrman might have felt
that euphoria the author felt after
Mr. Simpson's acquittal. The au-
thor wanted to see Mr. Simpson
walk away "unscathed," as if
keeping him in prison for a year
for a crime he committed was
cruel and unusual punishment.
The families of the victims have
probably not been left unscathed,
but the author doesn't notice this
as he celebrates the fact that
Simpson may gain a great sum of
money in a pay-per-view special.
The author also felt it appro-
priate to take the moral high
ground against the true evil, those
who would limit illegal immigra-
tion. The Contract With America
has already been discussed, and
the author would be wise to foot-

ebrates the verdict as "our (his
and other minority individuals')
little victory." He is directly say-
ing that the release of someone
who he believes butchered two
innocent human beings is a vic-
tory, because of the discrimina-
tion and oppression suffered by
minorities in this country!
Mr. Cho, I will assume you
don't believe that what you think
O.J. didwasright; however, given
your belief that he's guilty, can't
you see that declaring his acquit-
tal a "victory" is saying some-
thing almost equally abhorrent
(namely, that you believe setting
a brutal killer free is acceptable
because he is representative of an
oppressed race)? That's exactly
what you've said, and by doing
so you've sacrificed the ideal of
justice upon the altar of race rela-
tions; i.e. unjust verdicts are now
victories as long as certain condi-
tions are met. When you do this,
you compromise justice for ev-
eryone, white and minority alike,
because true justice will only be
served when each individual man
or woman is held fairly and im-
partially responsible for his or
her own actions by the court sys-
tem. Is it not far better to try to
address issues that might make
our society and justice system
unfair than to turn the other cheek

tion of myriad instances of indi-
vidual justice, and that a failure
on a small scale is not a victory
for anyone, but a failure for us all.
Steve Titus
Engineering graduate
student
Funds needed
for more than
health care
To the Daily:
How outrageous that we con-
sider a $250/term health care fee
(while UHS already receives
$96.50/term from each student)
when Student Legal Services has
been begging for years for an
increased student fee of $4/term.
Health care is important. The
proposed plan offers many im-
provements, including lowerper-
service fees, expansion of psy-
chological counseling services,
improved access to the Univer-
sity Hospitals system and stabi-
lized funding for UHS.
I agree that these measures
represent tangible steps forward
for student health, and feel
strongly that every person has the
right to physical and mental well-
being. And, especially in light of
the fact that members of my aae

HOW TO CONTACT THEM
Michigan Student Assembly
Flint Wainess, President
'_ '200 , 1Ininn

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