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Evansville, Indiana
October 22, 1993     The Message
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October 22, 1993

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 00-Perspective -- Spoken words can't be called back It was a prank call. Several messages were on my home answering machine one evening, and I sat down to play them back and jot down notes. One message needed no re- sponse. Another left a number for me to call. The third was the prank call. In what was clearly and undisputedly the voice of a child -- perhaps ten years old -- came the enthusiastic notice that I had won a prize on a local radio sta- tion. The voice continued -- in ob- vious admiration and imitation of a radio deejay -- with details of the time limit for me to respond, and the number I was supposed to call to claim my prize. It was harmless enough, but it stuck in my imagination. Later that evening, I listened again to the phone messages, and the prank call caught my imagination. After listening to the tape recording several times, I could not resist the temptation to PAUL R. INGANG EDITOR call thenumber mentioned by the "deejaf' to see what would happen. If I were going to make such a prank call, I thought, I would leave the number of the zoo, or a psychia- trist, or maybe even the real num- ber of the radio station I was pre- tending to represent. It was quite a surprise then for me when I called the prize-collect- ing number. I can't be absolutely sure of my conclusion, but it seems highly possible after the conversa- tion that I had with the person who answered the phone. The kid left his own home phone number! When I dialed the number, and a woman an- swered, I said something like this: "I don't know quite how to say this, but I have a message on my answering machine from a child playing a prank. And he left your number. Would there be some one at your house who might do such a thing?" She said there would, and that she intended to talk with her son about it. I said I wasn't sure about the whole thing, that maybe somebody else r had left her number. She didn't think so. She was ready to accept the possibility that stigated the joke call. I begged her not to be too harsh with since no harm had been done. She made no promises one way or the other. I will probably never know what happened. : erased the recording and I no longer have the ber that the caller had given me. I won't follow up. I hope the boy did not get into trouble, but I hope he got into at least a little. That's the end of the story -- except for thought. How many times do the words we on to cause an impact on Someone beyond trol? Words spoken in a joke, works spoken words spoken without thought of their conse- quences -- such words some times take on own life, as if recorded on a stranger's machine. If our words are always spoken in Christian charity, with respect and love for one another we should have no reservation about having connected with our own home phone number. ,,, WashingtonLetter Health care legislation: The not there yet and the wanna bes By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Even before the Clinton ad- ministration's more-than- 1,000-page legislative proposal for health care reform hit Capi- tol Hill, members of the House and Senate weren't reluctant to comment on it and offer their own alternatives. At least five alternate re- form plans were before Con- gress as of Oct. 15, with the de- tailed Clinton proposal not expected for another week. "This is very important. We're just making sure that we've got it right," said Ira Magaziner, senior adviser to the White House on health care issues, of the delay in bringing the plan to the Hill. In an Oct. 12 talk, Maga- ziner declined to specify the size of increased taxes on to- bacco or the amount of subsidy to be given to small businesses, but said both would be in- cluded in the legislation. The legislation will also specify changes in insurance laws, malpractice and an, titrust rules, federal health programs and other aspects of TheMESSAGE 4200 N, Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Publishecl weekty e:cept last week/n OecemDer by the Cathohc Press o! Evansville Phser ....... BsnoD Gerald A Gettelt,,nge E;tor .............................. Pau Lera,nq P,'oduO:or Manager ................. Phli Boger Crc!a!:on ......................... Amy Housman Adves,cg ................... Paul Newnd - Stafff writer ...................... Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P,O. BOx 4 I9," E-v#si,I,I !N 47724-0169 Subscnphon rate: $1200 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evanswlle tN 47701. Publica: tr numDer 843800 Postmaster: Return POD forms 357'9" to Office of Publication  1993  Press of E the national health care pic- ture. Catholic leaders have gener- ally supported the Clinton plan's commitment to univer- sal access to health care and its comprehensive package of benefits, but have criticized its inclusion of abortion among covered health services. In the weeks since Clinton first outlined his health reform plan to a joint session of Con- gress Sept. 22, support for the president on the topic of health care has diminished. A Washington Post poll pub- lished Oct. 12 said approval of the Clinton plan had declined from 56 percent to 51 percent and disapproval increased from 24 percent to 39 percent since the Sept. 22 speech. But 59 percent of the respondents still thought the Clinton pro- posal would be an improve- ment over the current health care system. Forty-,three percent of those polled said they were greatly concerned that abortions might be covered under the plan. An- other 23 percent said the abor- tion issue was a "small con- cern," and 33 percent said they were not at all concerned about it. The margin of error in the poll was plus or minus 3 per- centage points. Thanks from St. Thomas .To the Editor, The St. Thomas Catholic Church Sesquicentennial Com- mittee 0,d like to thank you - fd? tii : ho write-up On our' ehurch.,You bringing up Father Shaughnessy was very well appreciated. The committee would like to thank Bishop Gettelfinger, Bishop Shea. Father Allega, Gather Tenbarge, Father Vieck, Father Ackerman. Fa- The alternate proposals in Congress agree with the Clin- ton plan in a number of areas -- such as the need for mal- practice reforms to reduce de- fensive medicine and adminis- trative controls to streamline billing procedures. The latest plan to be intro- duced is from Texas Republi- can Sen. Phil Gramm, who pro- poses "medical savings accounts" similar to individual retirement accounts, adminis- tered through employers with contributions from both em- ployers and employees. Those with pre-existing con- ditions would be placed in a high- risk pool to buy insur- ance at government-subsidized rates, and those who earn up to 200 percent Of poverty level would get tax credits to help them buy insurance. The federal Medicare pro- gram for the poor and Medic- aid for the elderly would re- main in place, although much of the Gramm reforms would be financed through cutbacks in those programs. Gramm's proposal, designed to minimize government in- volvement in health care, has no Democratic co-sponsors and is given little chance of pas- sage. At the other end" of the polit- I I I lit m Ill ther Blessinger, Monsignor Vollmer, Monsignor Kaiser, and Scott Whitehouse for help- "ing us in our celebration on that day. Also like to thank the sisters from Ferdinand, whose ,presence was mostly appreci- ated. We would like to thank the choir, reader, servers and the parish of St. Thomas for their help and support during the last week. Without their sup- port. it couldn't have been suc- cessful. Wt, would like to thank the t ........... gg,I,,'l.7R.P,q,,ge,.l. !.,. ical spectrum -- but with the same slight chance of passage -- is the single-payer plan pre- sented by Rep. Jim McDer- mott, D-Wash., which would make the federal government responsible for paying all health care bills in the country. Under the proposal, companies and workers would send their health care premiums directly to the government, thus elimi- nating the insurance industry as "middle man." Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island and about 20 other Sen- ate Republicans have offered an alternative that would set up health care purchasing co- operatives similar to the health plans established under the Clinton proposal, but would make them voluntary, not mandatory. Health care for the poor would be provided via a voucher program, and employ- ers would be free not to provide any health care at all for their workers. A coalition of Democrats and publicans is backing! that would provide tives to those who the least expensive health coverage from plans organized by providers and who earn less than of the poverty rate will | sidized care on a House Republicans gesting a plan that the idea of medical counts and tax breaks low-income with a employers to provide with "access" to ance. be required to pay surance, and many could At the bottom line,, difference among the in who they would Bishop's sched The following activities and events are listed schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger. .m.  "Why Be a Priest Today n -- p Newman Conference Center, St. Meinrad Meinrad, Ind., Wednesday, Oct., 27, bishop's presentation is one in a series of Conferences being held this year at St. Meinrad. United States Catholic Conference sion on Certification and Accreditation, San nio, Texas, Thursday, Oct. 28  30.  , Mass at Deacon Retreat Sarto Retreat House, Saturday evening, Oct. 30, Mass, Closing of 125th Anniversary tion, St. John Church, Daylight, Sunday, .Oct, a.m. Mass, Feast of All Saints, at All Cannelburg, Monday, Nov. 1, 8 a.m. EST.