Today's Papers

Health Care and Carelessness

Health and social issues make the biggest impression today. The New York Times leads with the news that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the health care bills passed last week by the House and Senate will fall far short of their announced goal of guaranteeing health coverage to the ten million children now uninsured. USA TODAY’s front section main story makes the point that although the conventional wisdom is that Bill Clinton’s health care proposal was a colossal failure, he has actually in the past two years gotten Congress to pass many provisions congenial to its concepts, one bill at a time. The piece calls this development “stealth health” care.

In its page one lead feature, the Wall Street Journal reports on a little-noticed consequence of the cost-cutting brought on by managed care: the rise in free-lance autopsies. One Southern California woman figuring in the piece, who paid $2,500 to an independent pathologist (she reached him by dialing 1-800-AUTOPSY) to perform a post-mortem when the hospital where her mother died declined to do one, says, “I really felt like the doctor was listening to me and my concerns. Every time I paged him, he returned my call. My doctor doesn’t do that. Not even my pool man does that.”

The lead story in today’s Washington Post is a local one that could presage a national discussion. Two Maryland counties yesterday passed laws requiring safety locks to be included with every handgun sale. The Post also fronts a piece underlining the intractability of the problem of single motherhood. A multi-year, rigorous study to be released today finds that women enrolled in one of the nation’s best-funded programs for disadvantaged teenaged mothers still failed to improve their chances of becoming self-sufficient.

According to Maureen Dowd of the Times in her column today, maybe the problem is that too many women these days are sex-addled and man-crazy. In the course of her protest, she takes her second swipe in recent weeks at feminist writer Naomi Wolf and notes that “Susan Estrich, a leading feminist, top expert on rape law, campaign manager for Michael Dukakis’s Presidential bid and the first woman president of the Harvard Law Review, has written a screenplay with her husband, Marty Kaplan, about a prostitute who teaches her two girlfriends how to lure and hang on to men by learning erotic techniques.” Dowd concludes by listing some of the latest offerings from the brand-name women’s magazines, articles like “Wild Sex! 10 Things You Should Have Done by Now” and “2,000 Men Tell You How to Flip Their Switches.”