updated 09/19/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/19/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

While sympathetic—to a point—to the plight of families faced with financial ruin because of medical bills (PEOPLE, Aug. 29), several correspondents maintain that universal health care would be a cure worse than the problem it is meant to address. On another front, readers were not inclined to brood much over the dating problems of single celebrities.

Is there any reason that only women were featured in your cover story about the difficulties of dating in Hollywood? This may come as a surprise, but women can be happy and lead fulfilling lives without men; just because Paula Abdul "threw herself into her work" and Sally Field is spending time with her sons does not mean they are miserable. To portray these successful working women as desperate babies waiting to be asked out is an injustice.
KATHRYN DAVIS, Key Biscayne, Fla.

What about the millions of divorced American women who are not blessed with fame and wealth and have to raise children without the benefit of child support, high-paid lawyers and nannies? Not to mention plastic surgeons to help them keep their "beauty" intact while searching for another Mr. Right? Give me a big break!
PEGGY JOHNSON, Chula Vista, Calif.

How selfish of me to be thinking only of myself when Heather Locklear had to endure agonizing hours (minutes?) without a date! I am an attractive, single, financially independent woman who hasn't had a date in two years. At this point I'll go out with anyone whose wallet is not on a chain.
BETH DONAHUE, Irving, Texas

I began reading this article with a sympathetic heart. As I read on, I thought to myself, "This is life. Sometimes it sucks." These situations, tragic as they sound, do not justify universal health-care coverage. People need to start dealing with life and quit trying to dump their problems on everyone else.

Every one of your examples of "healthcare" problems was an insurance problem. You're advocating that the government (which doesn't do anything right) take over the best health-care system in the world. Health-care reform? NO! Insurance reform? YES!
JOAN C. TEMPLE, Marathon, Fla.

It seems to me that having a handicapped child would be enough, but apparently Supplemental Security Income wants the Reeds to lose all they hold dear. Does SSI ever help those who truly, desperately need it or are the restrictions impossible for anyone to overcome? I, too, have a disabled child, and I can tell you this is a serious and frightening issue.
KATHY BREAULT, Tinley Park, Ill.

Sorry, but I do not have any sympathy for the Reeds. Leslie "left" his job to launch his own desktop-publishing business. Carolyn had "quit" her job to be a free-lance writer. Health insurance "wasn't something [they] could afford at the time." Neither was fired; they chose to quit their jobs and they chose not to pay for insurance. This disaster is their problem and I, a tax-paying worker, am picking up their tab. No sympathy from me!

Being a single parent of two teenagers, for many years I have not been able to afford medical insurance. Your article made me count my blessings, as we have not been seriously ill. However, my new husband has diabetes, with many complications, and I fear for our future. I do not know the answer to the problems many people such as ourselves are faced with concerning health care, but I do know my husband did not choose to have this disease. We should not be punished by being turned away. I wish the best for these people and hope someone who cares will pay attention to this megaproblem.

I don't care whether Eric Smith has "intermittent explosive disorder" or not. He savagely murdered an innocent 4-year-old boy! Not only that, but he showed no remorse. This satanic kid needs the maximum punishment for such a heinous crime—death.

Is this the direction we are headed, trying sixth graders as adults? Yes, Eric did commit a serious crime, but this is not the answer. Derrick Robie is gone forever, and no punishment will bring him back. It's a tragedy that we have taken a second child's life as payment for Derrick's murder instead of providing Eric Smith with the help he obviously needs.
RICK COX, Biloxi, Miss.

You paint this miscreant as some sort of hero who had a nasty break. As a drug dealer, he was responsible for untold miseries to god only knows how many people. This scum deserves every pain and inconvenience he has and more.

I just finished reading the article about Andrea Jaeger's wonderful Kids' Stuff Foundation. It captured what I believe to be the very qualities of a terrific sportswoman. Could you print the address to which one can send donations?
ANGELA ROWE, National City, Calif.

Donations may be sent to the Kids' Stuff Foundation and Silver Lining Ranch, P.O. Box 10970, Aspen, CO 81612.—ED.

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