Your August letters on health care were timely and helpful. Please
keep calling attention to the tragic situation confronting the more
than 30 million people in the U.S. who have no health insurance.
Those of us in better situations need to have our consciences
Arthur E. Durfee
La Fayette, N.Y.

My wife and I are both 56 and in normal health for our age. Our
dilemma is that we are able to retire financially but cannot because
we can carry our quality health insurance into retirement for only 18
months under the COBRA provision. After that time period our $405
monthly premium would more than triple to over $1,200 a month when we
converted to a private plan. And the standard ''pre-existing
condition'' clause would prevent us from qualifying for full coverage
from a competing insurer. We're stuck. It appears I will be forced to
work until we qualify for Medicare in nine more years.
Stewart M. Turner
Bradenton, Fla.

We should always remember that health care is a right and not a
B. David Kurland
Glastonbury, Conn.

In July's health-care roundtable discussion, Dr. Leon Warshaw said
doctors don't emphasize preventive medicine because most of them feel
that keeping people healthy is boring. Happily, medical training has
evolved since Dr. Warshaw's student days. The current generation of
primary-care physicians -- including family doctors, pediatricians,
gynecologists and internists -- is very interested in preventive
medicine. In fact, most visits to these physicians are for
''routine'' health care, such as Pap smears, immunizations, blood
pressure and cholesterol checks, all of which are aimed at preserving
The main barrier to doctors' promoting health rather than curing
disease has been one of reimbursement. Insurance companies in the
past have not been willing to pay for simple, cost-effective,
lifesaving medical care such as regular physical exams, vaccines and
counseling patients about destructive habits like smoking.
Fortunately, many insurers, such as HMOs, realized that these
treatments ultimately reduce health-care costs. Other insurers are
now beginning to follow their lead.
Linda J. Lemay, M.D.
Oneida, N.Y.