Have you heard about the Nevada candidate for US Senate, Sue Lowden, who has proposed that we emulate our grandparents and pay for healthcare by bartering livestock?

(For background, cluck here.)

This ‘chicken for a CAT scan’ nonsense reminds me of the poignant scene in "To Kill a Mockingbird," when Mr. Cunningham sheepishly repays Atticus Finch’s legal fees with a sack of hickory nuts. (Some internet satirist should dig up that clip.)

It’s not that bartering is, in itself, ridiculous. In fact, I’m all for local, alternative economies. But the idea that this is a solution for the catastrophic rise in health care costs, or a viable option for patients in desperate need, is laughable. It shows how disconnected the Republicans are from reality.

How would this play out in real life? Can I trade you this celery for some chemotherapy? A turnip in exchange for treating my tumor? It sounds like an SNL skit.

The proposal is unserious, stupid and callous.

It’s like when Sen. Tom Coburn responded to a woman in financial and medical crisis by saying neighbors should help one another. A noble sentiment, but when was the last time you knocked on a neighbor’s door and asked, "Can I borrow $168,000 for a lung transplant?"