I support Jerald Block's advocacy for health insurance subscriber rights (There's a third party in the exam room, Insight, July 25).

The insurance company's decision is made by corporately biased and unfamiliar consultants using simplistic guidelines with the unspoken goal of denying or delaying benefits.

This activity is abetted by two public concerns - today's high cost of medical care and adverse medical outcomes, including those associated with inappropriate medications.

High cost is primarily due to expanded knowledge, advanced technology, pharmaceuticals and facilities, which have, understandably, increased patient intolerance of undesirable results.

Unfortunately, these two concerns make us vulnerable to insurance companies posturing as public protectors and medical arbiters; however, their decisions are not neutral, medically astute 'second opinions,' but rather a self-serving strategy of big business.

Regulatory agencies, state and certifying boards, as well as local, state and federal laws are selected, appropriate guardians of medical care quality.

Insurance companies must exercise good business practice and controls, but they must not hinder or jeopardize patient care; third-party communications between patient and provider must respect the doctor-patient relationship and adhere to enforceable standards.

Robert W. Smith

Southwest Portland

Pearl District needs both kinds of parks

In the story on Tanner Springs Park (Visit, but don't play, July 14), the subhead starts with 'Depending on whom you ask.'

The reporter should have asked more of the neighbors, rather than a construction worker who doesn't live there. After all, it's a neighborhood park. You'll find that there already is a park full of dog poop and screaming kids a block away.

Tanner is the green salad to Jamison Square's cheeseburger and fries.

Both are needed, and Tanner is cherished and protected by the people who live in and around it every day.

As a quiet green space, Tanner works its magic whether you enter it or not.

W. Dean Pulley

Northwest Portland

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