EDITORIAL PAGE A vital choice: Services agency for health care Health for many years has been a big, vita! business m sunny Southern Arizona. With the inevitable advent of Medicaid, and perhaps a national health insurance program, it will become an even bigger business. 6S '- Additional millions of federal dollars for health .. planning and health services will be injected into this region, and many others, by that colossal Washington hypodermic needle, the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW). ' To prepare for the administration of these funds and grants, a Health Systems Agency (HSA) is to be established for each designated sub-state health service area. The HSA for Southern Arizona will encompass Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima and Santa Â· Cruz counties, and the Papago Indian Reservation. While a larger agency will not necessarily eliminate waste, duplication, inefficiency and, in the case of Puna County, intramural squabbling between local personalities in the health field, HEW holds out great hope for its new HSAs. Functions of existing smaller agencies will be consolidated into the HSAs and each superagency then will strive to improve the health of the residents of its area by increasing the availability and quality of health care services at a cost somewhere within reach. * * * Applications for the five-county Southern Arizona conglomeration have been submitted by two incompatible, highly competitive groups - the Pima Health Planning Council (HPC) and the Pima Association of Governments in conjunction with the South Eastern Arizona Governments Organization (PAG- O.Cj AvJw ) . Gov. Raul Castro now has thick copies of the two detailed applications on his desk, and he is supposed to review them and forward his comments to HEW by February 19. Mr. Castro has declined to reveal his preference to date, leading some capital observers to believe he will straddle the fence between private and public sectors, even after the deadline. Such indecision would toss the hot potato into the bureaucractic lap of HEW, which might have trouble meeting the federal approval date of March 19 and the funding date of April 19. Moreover, a lack of gubernatorial recommendation could delay the implementation of this area's HSA beyond the scheduled effective date of July 1. Each applicant has presented persuasive arguments in its own support, not to mention influential lists of endorsers. HPC, seeking a 50-member governing body with a 15-member executive committee, has won the likes of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce and the board of the Pima County Medical Society and has wooed the City of South Tucson away from PAG-SEAGO with its promise of more minority consumer representation. PAG-SEAGO, proposing a 13-member governing board of mostly elected officials that would appoint a 30-member decision-making governing body of consumers (16) and providers (14), has won the likes of the Pima County Board of Health, the board of Pima Health Systems and, quite significantly, the HPCs from the rural counties. Sharp philosophical differences have been noted between the two groups in this complex situation. The HPC, with a commendable total of 200 volunteers from every socioeconomic stratum, nonetheless has moved along at a tortoise pace and, in fact, has been criticized in recent months by state and federal funding authorities for its failure to produce an acceptable comprehensive health plan for Pima County. Since its creation, PAG-SEAGO has contended effectively that the general public is not educated as to its health responsibilities nor has it been involved to the greatest extent possible in health services planning and development by past agencies. * * * For several rather obvious reasons, PAG-SEAGO would seem to be Southern Arizona's best bet for a healthy HSA-inspired future: --It has submitted a clearer, more concise application, setting up tighter controls and assuring all- important accountability. --It has developed a more workable program, with elected officials responsible for implementation but a good balance of consumers and providers as well as metropolitan and rural representatives responsible for its day-to-day functions. --It has offered a new entity aimed at unifying local groups, not self-perpetuating any existing group (HPC would retain 27 present members on its first- year HSA governing body), and utilizing the expertise of experienced leaders from such groups as the HPC. Gov. Castro, no doubt pressured on all sides, has a difficult decision before him. Yet, he should not dodge this vital issue. He should favor the applicant that can coordinate a vigorous health business in Southern Arizona for years to come. Clearly, the governor should recommend that PAG-SEAGO be given the job. A Tucson Hilizen William A. Small Jr., Publisher Paul A. McKalip, Editor Tony Tselentis, Associate Editor Dale Walton, Managing Editor Asa Bushnell, Editorial Page Editor PAGE 30 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1976 Letter from the editor The Citizen 9 s straw poll A week ago today, at the bottom of the editorial column on this page, there appeared a straw ballot that offered everyone an opportunity to express his or her opinion on an issue of wide interest and concern. The issue in this instance was simple and precise. Should Dr. Erie E. Peacock Jr. remain in the University of Arizona College of Medicine or should he leave? The decision of the Tucson Daily Citizen to conduct such a public opinion sampling on that question was not made capriciously, it was made with the same consideration and for the same reasons that Citizen straw ballots are offered whenever an issue appears to call for giving the community a chance to express itself. fn recent weeks the news once again has been full of reports about problems besetting the UA medical school, primarily stemming from and swirling around the controversial Dr. Peacock, former head of the medical school's surgery department. In published letters to the editor, in telephone calls we have received and in comments that one might have heard almost anywhere, it has been obvious that Dr. Peacock has his defenders and his detractors. Meanwhile, it has become obvious also that not simply the status of Dr. Peacock but, more significantly, the status of the medical school itself was reaching a crisis point. Because the UA and its medical school belong to and serve the people of Arizona, and are supported by their millions of tax dollars, a crisis there becomes a legitimate public concern, ft was timely, then, for us to offer a vehicle for measuring that concern. Yesterday was the deadline for receipt of straw ballots by the Citizen. Results of the poll and a cross section of comments offered by many, many of the respondents will be published Friday. Meanwhile, I can tell you one thing that is significant in itself. The total response was high. Compared to the returns on some other straw ballots it was very high. Interestingly enough, there came a few objections to the straw ballot from persons who obviously are aligned with or are aligned against Dr. Peacock. One objection, however, came this week from a professor emeritus of sociology in the university who wrote that he was neither for nor against Dr. Peacock but was simply against the poll. He noted that the Citizen cannot know "how representative" its readers are of the Tucson public or "how representative" the ballots are. We make it clear with every straw ballot that the poll is unscientific, that it is simply an opportunity for everyone who wishes to do so to register his opinion. The consensus of many outweighs, certainly, the opinions of a few. The sociologist also asserted "there is no information on the ballot concerning how much the respondents know about the Peacock case and hence how useful their opinions are." With due respects to the PhD- holding professor, that would appear to represent an elitist position that would rule out public opinion as a force on any issue. Yet we know that American public opinion is a force that is recognized and is also a force to be reckoned with. Finally, he declares "there is no way to prevent one side or the other from 'stuffing the ballot boxes' by sending in multiple ballots (5 -- 25 -- 100) because no signature or address was required." To that we would respond that the Citizen has been in the straw ballot business in this community for many years. The people involved with our polls and the ballot counting are experienced and are skilled at detecting attempts at "ballot box stuffing." It should go without even saying that Xeroxed ballots are tossed out without a pause. There were only a few in the stacks of envelopes that came in for this particular poll. Likewise, every envelope, yes every envelope, and every ballot is carefully scrutinized for possible evidence of multiple voting. Beyond that, though, what it boils down to is that people are basically honest and fair, however strong their convictions or anxieties, and are willing to let the chips fall where they may. That's why the Citizen's straw ballots, which appear only once and without advance notice, dp get attention and response and do produce all that they are intended to produce -- an unscientific but wide-open medium for public expression. And that's just one more way in which this newspaper seeks to serve its community. M c K A L I P Reassuring Ford Richardson will stay on By ART BUCHWALD The big news in Washington last week was net that Daniel Patrick Moyninan resigned, but that Elliot Richardson decided to stay on as secretary of commerce for the rest of the month of February. As everyone knows, Mr. Richardson has not remained at one position in the government for too long. He has been secretary of health, education and welfare, secretary of defense, attorney general, ambassador to the Court of St. James and was sworn in last week as secretary of commerce. While most people send the President a letter when they resign and receive a letter from the President regretting their departure, Mr. R i c h a r d s o n turned the tables and wrote the President saying he planned to remain at his post. Here is the exchange of letters between the President and Secretary Richardson. "Dear Mr. President: 1 am happy to tell you that after a week as secretary of commerce I intend to stay. My reasons for this decision are personal. I need the job. "You have always treated me fairly and supported me during these trying days when the commerce department has been under fire from all sides. I hope you are satisfied with the job I did during the last week and the decisions I made over the weekend. It has been a pleasure working in your administration and with you personally. "I want ynu to know, Mr. President, that although 1 will remain at my post as secretary of commerce, 1 will always be available for consultation and advice whenever you wish it. By staying in the government, I have not lost my interest in the affairs of state, and I hope you will call on me for future service to my country. Your obedient servant, Elliot Richardson." This was the President's reply. "Dear Elliot: It was with extreme pleasure that I received your letter announcing your decision to remain as secretary of commerce. No one has done as much against such formidable odds as you have during your first week as a cabinet offi- "What I have admired about you, Elliot, is that you have always been a team player. And the last seven days have proved that once I give you the ball, you can run with it. "Please accept all my good wishes for the future, and, on behalf of Betty and myself, (he best of luck wherever your travels as secretary of commerce may take you. Sincerely, Gerald Ford President of the U n i t e d States" Copyright 1976 \ . n Wh u ., . y, that* how your looked in theTwehttes-.dVtfful/* The truckers America's new folk heroes By KEVIN P. PHILLIPS True grit notwithstanding, John Wayne is too old to wave many more while hats at parting stagecoaches or cattleherds. The last cowboy shows have left television -- where they once reigned supreme -- and America is getting a new set of "lonesome rider" folk heroes: Interstate truckers who drive their giant eighteen-whee! rigs 100,000 miles a year from the potato fields of Maine to the irrigated asparagus lands of Southern California. Few things arc more fascinating than America's cavalcade of mobile heroes. Boys in circa 1790-1820 New England dreamed of captaining the great whaling ships and China clippers sailing to Canton and Hilo. Mark Twain borrowed his pen name from the terminology of steamboat pilots who sailed the mid-19th century Mississippi. And how many boys have dreamed of Casey Jones or traveled (vicariously) home to glory on the Wabash Cannonball? The cowboys topped them all, of course. A phenomenon of the years 1865-1885, their numbers probably never exceeded 40,000, but they were quickly romanticized by dime novels and early movies like "The Great Train Robbery." As the new century marked the "closing of the frontier," the cowboy became a symbol. He lasted through the 1950's, succumbing in the antihero years of the 1960's. Since then, we have played with replacements. The counterculture has looked to motorcyclists -- from "Easy Rider" to Evel Knievel. And astronauts have bathed in recognition and admiration (witness the popularity of Ohio's John Glenn). Angry motorcyclists and lofty spacemen are too distant from the cultural circumstances of the average American to make the grade as folk heroes, though. Not so with truckers. They have all the necessary qualities to appeal to the late urban age, just as cowpunchers did in the years of the closing frontier. America is becoming fascinated -- again -- with those whose jobs enable them to jump out of the sedentary nine-to-five rut. Even hoboes are becoming the subject of nostalgic profiles -tales of "Twelve Mile Hill" outside of Ford Worth, pickers riding the rails through Salt Lake City to harvest peaches in Oregon or apples in Washington State, the rules of the hobo jungles. But interstate truckers have the benefits of hobo life -- mobility, freedom -- without the detriments of poverty, alcoholism and jeopardy. Many make $5004600 a week, their truck cabins are customized homes away from home, and the squawky camaraderie of their Mark Russell CB (citizen's band) radios has already lured millions of non- truckers who mimic trucker slang and exchange truck stories. The trucking mystique is also manifest in NBC's TV series "Movin' On" (starring Claude Akins as interstate trucker Sonny Pruitt), C. W. McCall's , hit record "Convoy," and Jane Stern's fascinating book "Trucker: A Portrait of the Last American Cowboy." If the CB radio craze for locating "Smakey Bears" (highway patrols) and the theme of "Convoy" (1,000 trucks roaring across America and evading police) are any clue, we may be headed for a television-movie entertainment era where cops- and-truckers replace sheriffs- and-rustlers. Man's nomadic instinct is a powerful one. Among the few journalists admired and envied by his colleagues is Charles Kuralt, who travels "On the Road" for CBS television, searching out the ongoing story of America in the backroads and small towns. And there have been my own mornings on the road, rising to catch the first morning plane back to Washington after a speech or visit, when 1 have envied truckers rolling out for points unknown. But like most people, r guess I'll settle for reading about it. Copyright 1976 WASHINGTON There's already trouble at the Olympics. They caught the Russians giving hormone shots to their toboggan. All that security at Innsbruck isn't for the Olympic athletes Patty Hearst's lawyers finally got her trial moved. Did you read where Patty's taken up knitting? That's nice. The only problem is she's knitting a getaway car, Richard Nixon has phoned Patty several times. He told her that instead of going through all the embarrassment of a trial she ought to just resign. White Hoase aides say that President Ford spent 100 hours on the budget -- trying to understand it. Â·'' * .1 Â· CnpyriRhl l!76 ' '
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