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The US Should Look to Canada for a Workable Health-Care System

Regarding the article "President Bush's Health Plan Reinforces the Status Quo," March 23: I take issue with the proposed delegation of a universal health system - either in whole or in part - to the legions of private insurers. I believe this to be a mistaken policy direction. This is a case where federalization, not privatization, is the course to pursue. The health insurance industry has "blown it" with redundant and exorbitant administrative costs.

As one who had need to use the Canadian health system - a system which has only one administrative entity or insurer per province - I found that system to be both prompt and efficient, and delivered with compassion to all. The Canadian model is well worth serious consideration, if not emulation, by federal policymakers in the United States. Wilfred E. Richard, Fairfield, Maine Worth a thousand words

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Many thanks for printing the photo of baby swallows with the Home Forum page essay "Spring Flies In on Migrating Wings," March 19.

Year after year swallows raise their young in a nest atop a column just opposite my kitchen window. To watch this family being fed, trained, and eventually launched from under the porch ceiling is an experience not easily forgotten. That the swallows' parents put their "all" into the raising of their young is attested to and revealed in this fine photo. Edith C. Smith, Erwinna, Pa. Weapons from China

The article "Chinese Nuclear Sales Flout Western Embargoes," March 10, and the accompanying chart, "Chinese Nuclear Sales," lead the reader to believe that China is alone in its weapon sales to foreign, often unstable, countries.

Not until the citizens of this country force our own leaders to discontinue the sale of arms technology around the world can we legitimately call upon other countries to do the same. Katie Clark, Portland, Maine Nuclear-reactor problems

In the letters column, March 2, a writer from Aiken, S.C., responding to the Opinion page article "A Bad Bargain on Savannah River Nuke Site," Dec. 9, extols the efforts of the Department of Energy (DOE) and of Westinghouse to restart K-reactor at the DOE's Savannah River site.

Whether or not stockpiles of tritium are necessary in this post-cold-war world, the author has clearly misrepresented the safety and status of K-reactor. In December 1991 this reactor had to be shut down because of a tritium leak from a malfunctioning heat exchanger.

As a result of this leak, tritium levels in the Savannah River were 2 to 3 times higher than drinking-water standards.

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The author correctly states that many Aiken residents are supportive of the DOE, Westinghouse, and the continued production of tritium. In fact, the reactor, had it been successfully restarted in December, would have been "on line" only until this autumn, at which time it would have been shut down in order to connect it to a new cooling tower.

However, as a former Aiken resident myself, I can vouch for the fact that there are also many who are skeptical of the ability of the DOE and Westinghouse to safely run this aging reactor and are convinced that many safety issues have been ignored. Christopher Dunn, Downers Grove, Ill.

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