The Sept. 13 editorial "Al Gore's Health Plan" remarks that "at least Mr. Gore's plan avoids the excesses of the Republican-favored Medical Savings Accounts, which funnel scarce resources to the very rich."

Where in the world did The Post get that idea? Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) are a boon to people of modest means. They provide an affordable way of getting coverage, especially for people who don't care for HMOs. They enable people to take more control of their health care spending and to benefit from the savings. They allow people to access alternative health care services as easily as they do expensive mainstream medicine. And they make it possible for people with modest incomes to save money for long-term care needs and for times of unemployment.

The facts are that more than one-third of all the people who have chosen MSAs were previously uninsured; that the most typical MSA purchaser is a middle-aged empty nester running a home business; and that increasing numbers of Democrats, including Sen. Bob Torricelli of New Jersey, have come to realize that MSAs are a good alternative for ordinary working Americans.



The writer is a fellow in health policy at the CATO Institute.