Wednesday, December 2, 2009



For over a year now, our country has grappled with "the health care problem." At every level of government--and even at every level of our society--we have debated the moral, ethical, practical and financial ramifications that will flow from health reform. For the most part, we hear two sides. One side says that the United States has a "moral responsibility" to care for its citizens' health, even if it costs an astronomical amount and inhibits private commerce. The other side says that private health care more than sufficiently provides medical services to the American people. It also says that any government foray into health care will lead to crushing taxes and bureaucratic interference in private health care decisions. The other side says that the private system--despite its flaws--maintains the classic American spirit of free enterprise that yields beneficial scientific discovery. Without an economic incentive to pursue medicine, according to these voices, such discoveries would wither away.

Our Nation cares deeply about these questions. Congress has ferociously debated health care for months. Our citizens have come to blows over the issue in town hall meetings from Maine to Malibu. Many Americans see the health care debate as a symbolic battle for the country's soul. For them, health care represents sacred ground: If the government trespasses on it, every American's liberty will cease to exist. Some even think that State-run health care will result in "Death Panels" that decide whether elderly citizens live or die.

Here at Reason, Commerce, Justice and Free Beer, we take no position on the health care debate. We merely provide a forum in which Americans--and even foreigners--can candidly offer their opinions about this very important issue. Nonetheless, we find it regrettable that the debate has broken down along traditional political lines. We believe that democracy can only work when every voice is heard. And in the health care debate, it seems we only hear two voices: One Democratic, the other Republican.

As a serious news outlet committed to robust public debate, we believe that the American public has a right to hear alternative proposals for health reform. In that light, we are proud to share our readers' suggestions about how to solve the health care mess in the United States. These suggestions do not fall into the traditional conservative/liberal dichotomy. Rather, they express the compelling variety that makes America such a great Nation. We believe it is time to let every voice be heard on the health care question. Silence benefits no one. Our democracy can only survive when we allow everyone to speak, even those with whose perspectives we may disagree.


Dear Sirs,

I am sick and tired of the Democrat-Republican back-and-forth over health care. As a working civil contractor with mouths to feed, I would like to suggest an architectural solution to our health care problems.

Health care takes place in buildings. It costs money to maintain buildings. In fact, the more square footage you have, the more it costs to pay for a building. Now, we could save so much money in the health care system if we simply tightened our belts and knocked down one wall per room in every health care establishment. Think about it. Every room in every hospital, clinic and doctor's office has four walls. If we just sacrificed one wall in every room that provides health care in America, we would reduce health care expenses by 25%. That money could be used for research, charity and providing care for the uninsured, all without governmental interference. We just need to do without one wall per room.

We can do it. We just need to tell ourselves that four walls is too many. I'm ready to make sacrifices. Are you? As a contractor, I know that most walls are unnecessary; we can get rid of a few. And when we do, we'll be amazed how much money we'll save.

Yours truly,

Bill McCloskey, Contractor, Omaha, Neb.


Liebe Mitleser (Dear Readers),

In 1934, the new government in Germany declared: "God cannot have wished that a deformed baby live." We believe that statement can help America solve its health care problem.

America spends untold amounts caring for malformed children. It spends even more keeping people alive who would not have survived in nature. These people force up costs for everyone else who needs health care. And caring for them yields no increase in production. After all, caring for a deaf-mute with deformed arms for 40 years will not transform him into a Nobel winner or a successful grain wholesaler. Rather, he remains a muted cripple--and a money pit.

We believe, as the new government in Germany believed in 1934, that it makes no sense spending national treasure preserving worthless life. America could save countless dollars if it simply euthanized crippled children and hopelessly injured adults. These vegetables represent the single-most expensive item on the health care menu. Caring for them results in massive financial wastage without any hope of return. This is simply not good financial management.

We propose a final solution to the health care problem. By neutralizing high-priced cripples, mentally-defective children and brain-dead accident victims, we will flush the system with money, as well as free hospital beds for productive citizens who actually stand a chance to recover. We must be pragamtic. We must care for those for whom care will actually make a difference, not those who will never pay tax, never serve in the army and never invent anything worthwhile for society.

If we wish to reform health care in America, let us provide care only to those who can contribute something for the investment we make in them.


E. Fritz Goebbels, Insurance Broker, Lansing, Mich.


Americans fail to understand just how expensive hospital food is. Every year, the health care system spends over $450 billion on low-quality entrees--including pudding--to feed patients. Although this is a shocking fact, I believe we can turn it to our advantage.

I have worked in the St. Luke's Milwaukee Critical Care Unit for over twenty years as Patient Diet Supervisor. During that time, I have seen first-hand how much money we waste on bad hospital food. True, we have nourished patients under our care. But they all complain about the food and many say they would rather eat their shoes than another foil-wrapped Chicken a la King.

I think we can meaningfully reform the health care system in America if we simply stopped serving food at hospitals. Patients don't like it anyway. Plus it costs over $450 billion per year. By dispensing with daily meals, we would free up funds that could be used to perform surgery, set splints, buy medication and open new wards.

Naturally the objection follows: So what will the patients eat? Simple: Anything they want. Nothing is stopping them from ordering their own meals or--God forbid--cooking themselves. Responsible citizens manage their own diets. Just because they are in the hospital should not make them think they can't cook for themselves anymore. If they want KFC, they can order it. If they want to cook a four-course Italian banquet complete with wine and cannoli, let them. This is about personal and financial responsibility.

Some patients might be too sick or injured to order their own meals. In that case, relatives can cook or order for them. It might be difficult for a relative to insert a chicken wing into the mouth of an intubated child, but no one said health reform would be easy. If some patients die because they cannot eat outside food, that's the price we pay. On the other hand, we will happily provide feeding tubes for patients who do not feed themselves. We simply leave it to the relatives to fill those tubes with milkshakes or other liquid meals.

It is amazing how much money we'll save by closing down hospital food services. Plus we'll encourage individual responsibility and healthy eating choices among the patients.

Yours very truly,

Julie M. Wakaska, Patient Diet Coordinator, Milwaukee, Wisc.

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