When I was a kid, I liked to do the connect-the-dots games in children’s publications. They were fun to do and a larger picture was revealed after the dots were all connected.

I’d like to thank the newspaper for providing an adult form of connect-the-dots recently. I don’t think it was intended to be that, but page one of the March 20 issue seemed to be a dot-connecting exercise.

The top headline read, “Poor health linked to poverty.” I’m sure many people already realize poor health is connected to poverty. So how can we improve the health of society? Remove poverty seems to be an obvious answer.

And just how do we do that? This is where more dots get connected. The headline immediately below the top headline read, “America pays for wars long after they’re over.”

It seems taxpayers are still shelling out for the Civil War more than a century and a half later. And for every war (and there were many) since then, billions, even trillions of dollars have been spent that could have been used, in lieu of wars, to improve health care by removing poverty.

Now conjure an image of a poor person lying in a hospital bed, totally incapacitated, with tubes in and out of every orifice in their body. That image will remain until Medicare finally drops the patient — to die. As long as someone is paying, the medical-industrial complex will keep that poor soul barely alive.

Now imagine that patient saying, “Gee, thanks so much for this freedom I am now enjoying.” This is the big picture I got when I connected the dots.

Peter P. Sirois

Madison