Editorial Physician, Heal Thyself Hutchinson News Saturday, Oct. 2, 1971 Page 4 The AEC's Turnabout If one could ignore both parochialism and politics, the news that the Atomic Energy Commission is backing away from its radioactive waste disposal project at Lyons would be cause for relief. And much satisfaction. The reason for a positive reaction is not that Central Kansas will be spared any worry, nor that the conflict over the site will be subdued. The reason is that this decision reflects an abrupt change in the AEC's thinking process. For some years, the AEC has proceeded with all the assurance of a latter-day Merlin, waving its wand over its mysterious projects and sneering at ignorant people who raised any questions. It was a sprawling autocracy, immune from the public and holding Congress in its hip pocket. Now it faces probes from many sides — the location of nuclear power plants; the disposal of their wastes; the safety and purpose of under- mountain and undersea nuclear tests, and the general waste disposal problem. This is as it should be. The implications and possibilities in all nuclear projects are too far - reaching to be confined to the decision of a single group of scientists and technicians. The final decision is some time yet. The only certainty is that AEC, and Kansas, will do much more studying before a solution is found. The decision to look again will be regretting by many in this area, primarily because of the possible economic loss. But the AEC has said there is doubt. So have other reputable geologists and atomic experts. It's another case where it is far tetter to be safe than sorry. How About Shedding a By ANTHONY LEWIS (C) 1971 New York Times News Service LONDON — Wesley Hall, M.D., the President of the American Medical Association, visited Britain last summer and went away distressed. He observed the National Health Service in a small mining town in Scotland and found it so bad that Americans would never tolerate it. "The people over there don't know any better," Dr. Hall told the National Press Club in Washington on his| return. "It is tragic." Before Americans shed too many tears for the health of their British friends, it seemed wise to look at a statistic or two. The result of this check shows that Hall is faithfully maintaining the A.M.A.'s well-known reputation for accuracy and fair-mindedness. Lewis Dilemma for the City Infant mortality is one widely-accepted test of a society's standard of hsnlth. In 1969 the rate in Britain per 1,000 live births was 18 infant deaths, in the Uni.ed States 20.7. Then there is the maternal death rate. In Britain the 1969 figure per 109,000 births was 19, the American 27.4. Not only are those British figures significantly better today. They were achieved, over one generation, from a starting- point much worse than America's. In 1945 th2 infant mortality rate was 46 in Britain, 38 in the United States. The maternal dsath rate was an appalling 1,260 in Britain, 207 in the United States. Tax-Supported Medicine That generation is the one during which the British National Health Service, the system of tax-supported medicine for all, was created and grew up. Of course that is not the only reason for the spectacular changes in the figures. But it is certainly not irrelevant that the British standard of infant and maternal survival caught up with America's, and passed it, precisely during the years of the Health Services development. Outside the maternal-infant area, Britain publishes death rates for men and women from a number of diseases. A table published in Social Trends, a statistical annual, uses the 1950-52 average as a base of 100. If the rate is up by 10 per cent in a later year, for example, the table would show 110. Seven leading causes of death were chosen completely at random for comparison witli American trends: respiratory tuberculosis, diabetes, arteriosclerotic heart Few Tears for Our Side? disease including coronary, hypertensive problem. That is the inadequate medical heart disease, influenza, pneumonia and care provided in the richest nation on bronchitis. With the same 1950-52 base as earth. 100, these were the U.S. and British death „ ,«»',«« rates for men in 1967, the last year avail- S P end More Mom * able: At its best American medicine is superb, as British doctors often admiringly re- U.S. BRITAIN mark. But too few Americans get the Tuberculosis .... 25 15 best. That is why the United States is Diabetes 150 112 down further than might be expected in Arterio 160 158 world health tables, not only in compari- Hyperten 55 40 son with Britain. Infant mortality, for Influenza 20 9 example, a 1969 United Nations report Pneumonia 135 118 showed 22 countries with a lower rate Bronchitis 253 91 than ours. In every one of those randomly-selected The characteristic, generous answer to categories, then, the British figure is low- such evident national failings is to spend er; the death rate has risen less since more money. But we know by now that 1950-52 than the American, or fallen fur- in the medical field that alone is no ther. A similar table for women shows solution. The United States spends about exactly the same phenomenon, except that 6.9 per cent of its Gross National Prod- the British figures are comparatively even uct on health and medical care, Britain better. only 4.9. Now there naturally may be many causes for the comparative death rate What needs to be changed is the sys- trends. American pollution could be grow- tern of delivering medical care to the in- ing worse faster, or family tensions in- dividual American. It is, as a British creasing. But not even the sophists of the medical writer put it, "a desperately iiir A.M.A. could read those figures to prove efficient as well as a heartless way of that Britons get inferior medical care, bringing the benefits of modern medicine Hall should stop shedding tears for the to the population: despite its wealth the British and start worrying about the real health of America is poor." The city has worked itself into something of a box in planning for tomorrow. By granting a favored status to one industrial area with a non-annexation pact, the city irritated industries in other areas, and some within the city, which feel they have suffered some discrimination. Now, the city has turned down a reasonable proposal to annex an eastside residential area on the grounds the private home property deserves the same treatment as adjoining industrial property. It's difficult to quarrel with that reasoning. But it does threaten a considerable crimp in the orderly development of the city and its environs. If the city decides it is now conscience - bound not to annex in any direction, except perhaps by special request, we'll all be the worse for the trap. Time has a way of resolving such dilemmas. Meanwhile, the lesson is obvious. Special treatment by any government agency usually leads to special problems — usually at the expense of the general public. The Laugh-In Award A little levity usually is welcome, even at the top levels of government. So this week's laugh-in award for hilarity in high places must go to Ron Ziegler, the White House Press Secretary, who in a rare comic moment told reporters that there has been no government intimidation of the press, and added: "In well over two years, I don't think there was any instance that the Other Editors administration showed anything but respect for the free press." If by "administration," Z i e g 1 e r means only the President, he may have said that with a straight face. But if he also means Spiro, John, Martha, J. Edgar, or the GOP national chairman, he speaks satiric jest. And certainly we all can appreciate jest now and then. It Should All Be Federal The Des Moines Register Another row is taking place in Washington about the division of authority and responsibility for meat inspection between the federal government and the states. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that state meat inspection is now as good as federal. Agriculture Secretary Clifford Hardin advocates that Congress pass a law permitting state-inspected meat to b? shipped and sold anywhere in the country. All meat properly inspected should be eligible for interstate commerce, but that is not the way to go about it. Since the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, USDA has had the duty of certifying state inspection systems. The standards of inspection are sunposed to be equal to those used by USDA for federal inspection. Undoubtedly, state inspection of meat and poultry has been greatly improved under this new legislation. But congressmen who were instrumental in the enactment of the new meat law, believe it would be a mistake to permit state-inspected meat to enter interstate commerce. Ralph Nader's consumer protection group issued a report charging that USDA wants to shuck the whole meat inspection job off to the states. Under present law, states have the option of turning over all meat inspection to the federal government or handling their own inspection of meat for intrastate business, with the federal government paying half the cost. This provision for state inspection was a concession to state secretaries of agriculture, who want to maintain their organizations and influence. In some states, they reign over the largest apparatus in the government and are very powerful politically, especially in the South. The South is in the driver's seat on practically all agriculture-related federal legislation, because of the domination of the congressional agricultural committees by southerners. U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Phil Campbell was formerly Georgia secretary of agriculture and a leader in fighting for state meat inspection. It never did make sense to have separate state meat inspection systems. Most of the meat consumed in the United States jnovw across atate lines and must be fed- Merry-Go-Round Reveals How Viet Army Sells Heroin to GIs in- erally inspected. It is illogical and efficient for the 50 states to provide their own inspection for meat sold within their boundaries. In Iowa, for example, less than 10 per cent of the meat processed is sold intrastate. One inspection unit ought to have charge of the whole 100 per cent. This argument could be settled once and for all if Congress would set up a federal meat and poultry inspection system to cover all meat sold interstate or intrastate. The present state staffs of inspectors could be absorbed into die federal system. Despite federal review and certification of state inspection systems, if all state- inspected meat were eligible for interstate commerce, there would be a tendency for states to attract meat processing firms by offering less restrictive inspection. Differences among the states would be bound to exist. Nixon Administration officials talk a lot about decentralizing government and turning over more functions to the states. That may be fine as a principle, but it won't work in the case of meat inspection or any other regulation of public health standards, which must be the same all over the country. If the Administration wants to help the states, one of the best things it could do is to take over all meat, fish and poultry inspection, permitting the states to save that cost. This would be a good form of "revenue sharing", besides assuring consumers of more dependable, uniform meat inspection throughout the country. K THANKFUL YER IN h 'COiMONAL INSTITUTION/ INSTEAD Of SOME 01' PRISON. By JACK ANDERSON WASHINGTON—To keep heroin out, U.S. bases in South Vietnam won't allow most Vietnamese on the premises. But Vietnamese military police, who come and go as they please, have beeni smuggling in wholesale lots [ of heroin. This charge has been J made by Rep. John Murphy, D-N.Y., in a private report to the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. The report summarizes his findings in Vietnam and his interviews with GI addicts. Anderson Quoting an addicted Air Force sergeant from Ben Hoa, Murphy alleges: "Vietnamese military police would bring in 200 vials (of heroin) a week. The Vietnamese MPs had access to the base, and the Air Force pusher would meet them and make the exchange. Two hundred bottles sold for $6 a bottle." Vietnamese who were barred from the bases would approach GIs in Jeeps to hustle heroin. An addict just back from Vietnam, now being treated at Lackland Air Force Base. Tex., told Murphy that Vietnamese troops in the field "would come up to our vehicles and press a thumb to their nose in a 'snorting' fashion, indicating, 'Do you want some heroin?'" Here are other verbatim quotes that Murphy picked up from GI addicts: • "My habit in Vietnam was $20 a day. Here (in the U .S.) it is two Sony hi-fi Staff View Light Bill Deep, Dark Mystery By DEAN HINNEN Dale Saffels and the Kansas Corporation Commission, where are you when I need you? Several years ago, in an effort to avoid a rate increase among the state's utilities, the KCC approved a ' request enabling utility companies to estimate bills. While the approval did j help delay a rate increase for a time, it also did two other things—made meter reading easier and threw consumers a bad curve. For example, take a four unit apartment on West 9th. Three single women and a single man live there. Hinnen estimated at all, left even less to be desired. The first excuse for the meters not being read was the presence of a "bad dog." That theory didn't hold water, because the landlord has a prohibition against pets in the lease, and it isn't violated. The second, and actual reason, was that KP&L meter readers had somehow managed to forget that a key to the basement location of the meters was in the KP&L office — and had been for seven years. KP&L officials were very congenial about the entire episode. They were even generous enough to suggest my fiancee could pay her bill in two monthly installments and gave her neighbor with the $62 bill three months in which to pay it. But what happens to people in this state who can barely pay their monthly utility bills and then get hit with a bill that is actually for three months? In some cases they probably go without electricity, not because of their error but because of the utility company's. And it's not just KP&L. Other power companies, gas companies, water systems both private and municipal are frequently guilty of the same moral bad conduct, which is condoned by the KCC. Maybe instead of a Corporation Commission controlling utilities and other industries, we need a new KCC. Like a Kansas Consumers Corporation. It would be a refreshing change. sets and a half dozen watches"—all, of course, stolen and resold. • "I tried the Air Force amnesty program in Vietnam three times. I would get de-toxed, released, and told to return to my unit. But the first thing I did was go downtown and get a fix. The amnesty program was a joke." • "The Air Force started to give us massive doses of thorazine (a tranquilizer) in Vietnam because some of us were litter cases going through withdrawal. The doses were too much .... On the flight back to the States, there were two . addicts who went into cardiac arrest, and we had to make an emergency landing in the Philippines to save them.'' • "I worked at an Air Force base in Vietnam, used heroin and did my job good. But some of those pilots were 'juicers' (alcoholics) and sometimes we had to carry them to the plane and dump them in the cockpit and practically point the plane down the runway." • An Army nurse told Murphy that "the marijuana smoke on some of the flights home is so thick the air turns blue." Murphy urged that hopeless addicts be discharged from the service and sent to civilian treatment centers. And he has asked the Air Force to "de-brief" returning GI addicts on where they got heroin in Vietnam and to send this intelligence back to U. S. military authorities in Vietnam. Young Extremists The political pros are rubbing their eyes in disbelief over private polls which show more than 20 per cent of tlie new teenage voters will cast their first presidential ballots for Gov. George Wallace, the Alabama segregationist. At least another 20 per cent are expected to support Eugene McCarthy if he should establish a fourth, ultra-liberal party. The young people, apparently, are polarizing. Alarmed, the party pros are urging new stress on moderation during the 1972 campaign. Michigan's Gov. William Milliken, for one, has called for party unity in a letter to Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, the Republican National Chairman. The moderate Milliken, in line to be the next chairman of the Republican Governors Conference, wants a new national strategy that will appeal to blacks, youths and other disaffected groups. Milliken's campaign against divisive politics, however, has been interpreted by some Agnew admirers as a slap at the Vice President, whose rhetoric doesn't exactly appeal to blacks and youths. Thus ironically, the attempt to stop divisiveness may be causing more divisiveness. 7 Tight Squeeze (Special To The News) WASHINGTON - A Highway Safety official has proposed approving on buses, emergency exit windows that are so small an overfed American can't squeeze through. On Aug. 2, the agency's Motor Vehicle section proposed a 13-by-20-inch size, far smaller than windows on modern buses. So shocked was the agency's research chief, John Edwards, that he fired off a memo pointing out that the school bus lobby recommended a minimum of 17-by- 24-inches even for children. The mini-exit, wrote Edwards, "does not oppear to be based on real life conditions encountered at the time of bus crashes." t KP&L estimated their June and July electric bills — and then mailed them with an August bill that was more than the previous two bills combined. One of the August bills was $62—for a three room apartment that has a gas range. I learned of the situation from a very upset blonde I am going to marry. Her first reaction was "how am I going to pay it (a $26 bill)?" Explanation? She had barely used her air conditioner in the first part of the month, and it had quit working in about mid-month. KP&L's explanation for the mammoth August bills was simple. "We estimated too low (for June and July),'* the lady explained. That was obvious. Their explanation why the bills were Looking Backward Ten Years Ago in 1961 Gov. John Anderson, John Hayes, Chamber of Commerce president, Addison Meschke, state highway director, and Bill Mitchell, House speaker, played golf at Prairie Dunes. The Hesston Manufacturing Co. announced a new windrower. Twentyjive Years Ago in 1946 Four Leavenworth saloons were raided and liquor seized. Four hundred movie pickets on strike staged a battle in front of the MGM studio. Paul Jones, Lyons editor, was named publicity director of the Kansas Democratic State Central committee and the Woodring for Governor club. Fifty Years Ago in 1921 The body of Lerlowe Howard was buried at Eastside Cemetery. He died of wounds in European fighting, was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Efforts were made to have the Hutchinson municipal band designated as the official State Fair band instead of bringing bands from the east. 'Poor, Awkward, Little Fella Couldn't Balance It On His Back!'
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