Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of June 27, 2011

Readers write on America's health-care reform fantasies and question the focus on elite vacations in a recent Monitor cover story.

Health-care fantasies

In his June 6 commentary "Beware the next health reform: 'accountable' care," Paul Hsieh uses an extremely poor analogy when he compares eating out at a restaurant to choosing a health-care provider.

Until all health-care con-sumers hold a medical degree, and all health-care procedures can either be delayed indefinitely or performed effectively at home, the notion that the conventional application of market forces can control health-care costs is pure fantasy.

Of course, there will be inherent problems and deficiencies associated with any government-supervised health-care system; but working through those issues is far superior to the unaffordable, crazy quilt health-care mess that has been created by the myth that the simple application of free-market forces is some sort of universal salvation.

Wayne A. Spitzer

Faywood, N.M.

A narrow focus on elite trips

While I personally find fascinating the idea of taking my family on a year-long vacation to experience the world, I felt that the "Way beyond vacation" focus story of May 30 was an inappropriate subject for the cover of an internationally respected newspaper.

With so many significant challenges facing humanity, I find it hard to believe that a story of a few white, privileged families taking extended vacations is relevant to the majority of our world's population. The article's accompanying photos featured all-white families with blond children, representing only a small minority of people in the world.

Knowing the financial struggles that many Americans face today, I was bothered by the article's celebration of upper-middle-class lifestyles, selling real estate, purchasing 35-foot sailboats, and living off of the savings of high-tech chief executive salaries.

Considering the work that we as a global family must do to raise consciousness and face the challenges of poverty, hunger, and human rights, it seems "focus" articles should focus on larger national and international priorities.

Laurie de Koch


This article referred to extended vacations for families discontented with their current lives as a possible "life change."

The description of these families never mentioned that they belonged to a church, or service group, or made other efforts to help others. I therefore suspect that these individuals may continue to find life (which appears to be focused mostly on themselves) just as unsatisfying as they did before they left on their globe-trotting trips.

I find a story about someone who has started at the bottom, worked his way to the top, and helps others to do the same is typically far more satisfying and relevant a read.

Richard McKewan

San Jose, Calif.

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