A bit of a health and safety theme today. The New York Times leads with a story about how managed care health providers in California, who now cover more than half the state's population, face a state government review and many possible legislative reforms, all arising from widespread patient dissatisfaction with their rules. The Los Angeles Times is above the fold with an account of how HMOs will launch a lobbying blitz this week against current congressional proposals for deep cuts in the payments they receive for Medicare patients. Their big message: if any of these are passed, plan members will have to start paying for their prescriptions.
The Wall Street Journal's main front page feature examines the trend of nonprofit hospitals retaining their tax-exempt status while straying pretty far from their original charge of using their assets for such charitable purposes as caring for the indigent. The piece focuses on a Nashville, Tennessee nonprofit hospital that has a lavish plastic surgery center catering to country and western stars and will soon own a $15 million, 18-acre office and training-field complex that it will rent to the new NFL franchise coming to town. And USA Today leads with the news that during the period when 27 states raised their speed limits, traffic fatalities actually fell slightly. The paper reminds readers that opponents of higher speed limits had claimed they would result in 6,400 more fatalities per year.
The LAT's top story is that the leader of the recent coup in Cambodia, Hun Sen, "promises free and fair elections and urges human rights organizations and the media to continue their work." And the Washington Post leads with the NAACP reconsidering its long-held goal of integration at its convention this week.
The front pages of the NYT, LAT, and WP make plenty of room for Madeleine Albright's trip to the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague where for the first time, she saw the names of her paternal grandparents in an inscribed list of Holocaust victims.
Starr-gaysing. The WP carries a piece way inside with the suggestion that some of Kenneth Starr's investigators recently asked Bob Hattoy, a gay Clinton administration official, if he had been successful hiring homosexuals in to the government. Starr says that the question was never put to Hattoy, but that when in the course of a Whitewater interview, Hattoy was asked about his general government duties, he volunteered that, in Starr's words, "it was his job to locate homosexuals" for administration jobs.
Guess which major newspaper isn't reading Slate carefully enough? This very issue of this very magazine contains a piece by ace foreign correspondent Peter Maass (two "s"s) concerning his persistent experience of being confused with the author of The Valachi Papers and Serpico, writer Peter Maas (one "s"). And yet, on today's on-line version of the NYT op-ed page, there appears a piece on Bosnia over the byline of Peter "Maas." Although it's possible that Sammy the Bull's collaborator has branched out, it's not likely--after all, the piece's credit line is all about Peter "Maass."