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What I learned at Boys State more than 50 days in a hospital room. Things are such a mess that the Social Security Administration has stationed its own personnel within Blue Cross offices to help the plans run Medicare. But the public doesn’t generally know anything about this. What Social Security and the congressional committees are saying is that Medicare costs a lot more than expected and that the rates must go up. What has happened, of course, is that the general citizenry, through tax payments, and individuals over 65, through, Medicare charges, are footing the bill for an inefficient medical system. In this instance, old people who are hard pressed to get by under any circumstance, are helping to pay the cost of two insurance agencies employed to do the job of one, and they are supporting a system which allows inefficiently managed hospitals to pass on their exorbitant charges. Hospital practices must change for there to be any sort of real improvement in health care. People simply must be treated by teams of para-medical personnel in their own communities. They need care in their own homes or in local clinics, last of all in hospitals. And treatment must be preventive in nature. These changes, as obvious as they may seem, run counter to the interests of medical practitioners clustered around hospitals, and it is hard to imagine such reforms could be brought about through Blue Cross which is owned by the hospitals. Yet the Medicare system, dominated by Blue Cross, looks like the basis for Nixon’s health reform plan. Bad night On the ward I sit on the toilet removed from the dayroom where we called each other names from the shower room where two guys are fighting from wary attendants in the nursing cage and angry patients prowling the halls. I come to an understanding finally that I cannot escape sharing this misery, a blatant knowing that brotherhood is just beyond the snapped nerve. Everyone on the ward seems ready to explode and I am forcing out a grudged love, the more real because given so meanly. MIKE NIEMCZYK Houston Your article on Boy’s State brought back a flood of memories from the time when I served as one of .the “chosen” in the. early ’50’s. So much and so little has changed. While I share your censureship of the Legion’s censorship, I think you come down a little hard on them. We are all, the Keith Deens, the Legionaires, and the liberal, leftist, conservative editors, the whole political spectrum in this country suffering from a deadly loss of the sense of humor a vital ingredient for the survival of democracy. There is no need to go into the causes of this erosion, they are so self-evident, but that is what has changed. In the old days, which were truly another era, a boy with long hair would have been laughed at by his peers, looked at askance by his elders, and that would have been the end of it. That a nation’s youth and their elders, the press and the courts of the land, now lock horns over locks of hair is simply an index of how our social paranoia has inflated itself right along with the dollar. The self-righteous tone of your article as well as your cover condemning the Legion has exactly that same childish malevolence as inspired Mr. Deen’s “house arrest.” The camp routine you described is practically identical except that we were housed in the State buildings of the “Insane Asylum,” as we called it then in polite, middle class society. During one of our party organizing sessions another rather portly Legionaire entered and told us he had “some good news.” At our opposing party’s headquarters, “a chandelier fixture fell down right on top of some of those boys’ heads and cut ’em up pretty bad!” This news was greeted with loud whistles and rebel yells. No generation gap then, you see. As our lessons in self-government progressed we and our youthful peers went to any lengths to attain an office. I heard candidates promise opposite things to opposite groups, and everything to everybody. We listened to speeches utterly devoid of issues and eloquence. We saw that the highest offices were attained not by the thoughtful, the intelligent, or imaginative, but by the glib, the conscienceless, the wheeler-dealers, the overly ambitious. The only issue we could agree upon unanimously was a resolution that the Government of Texas renovate the “Insane Asylum.” It was an issue dripping with love and concern, as well as occasional chandeliers, yet one that we could safely pass on to our elders’ pocketbooks as their responsibility. In my associations at Boy’s State, I came to know that age itself has little to do with curing childish vanity, and youthfulness just as little with insuring the IDialogue 1 love of truth. But most important of all, perhaps, there was stamped upon my mind an indelible and almost mystical association between insane asylums and the workings of government. Now I ask you. Were these not very fine and very practical lessons for a young man to have learned so early in life, and are they not true insights into how modern governments work, and have they not stood the test of time? Right on, Legionaires! Maurice Schmidt, 611 W. Santa Gertrudis, Kingsville, Texas 78363. In retaliation In retaliation to the editorial published in the July 2, 1971, edition of your newsmagazine, I must say that the opinion presented regarding the American Legion Boys State program is a gross misrepresentation of the concepts and purposes of that particular program. As a citizen in the 1971 Boys State, I feel entitled to refute some of the outlandish statements made criticizing what I believe to be a superior method in teaching young men many of the aspects of our government. As is typical of such a highly biased editorial, you have chosen to exaggerate the few disturbances that took place and failed to give proper notice to the more enjoyable aspects which outnumbered the discredits overwhelmingly. First, let us discuss the policy of enrollment. No person was compelled to attend Boys State, but as you stated, all were required to comply with the rules set forth in the Boys State Constitution and Manual. If one did not wish to comply for any reason, he simply did not have to attend the program. In regard to the “confiscation” of valuables, this was done for protection purposes. A bank functioned at Boys State and any citizen could withdraw by check any amount desired. Trips off campus were not allowed becaUse it was important that each citizen attend all meetings and formations in order to be an active participant in the program. Contrary to your statement, difference July 30, 1971 21