Op-Ed

In the world of the medical-industrial complex, fat wallets matter

Cameron S. Schaeffer
Cameron S. Schaeffer

After de-accommodating Dr. David Dao, United Airlines got a dose of Dao from his lawyer.

The company could also stand a dose of Daoism, the ancient Chinese religion. Also called Taoism, its three jewels are compassion, moderation, and humility — not exactly the three pillars of the modern airline industry.

Those jewels are hardly the pillars of modern American life either. The Dao video hoists a mirror and begs questions. It shocked the Chinese people. Aggression and violence now seem to be central to the American character. It plays out in our entertainment, and in our streets. At our universities, leftist students block venues, shout down speakers, and commit acts of violence. On social media, the left now openly advocates violence and laments the strict gun laws it has passed.

When government treats citizens aggressively, the citizens treat each other aggressively. They become accustomed to it, and the rule of law, under which all lives matter, begins to crack.

Such countries inevitably treat other countries aggressively. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after his inauguration. Like his predecessors, he then proceeded to start bombing other countries. It is fortunate John McCain lost; it is hard to name a country he would not have bombed.

Candidate Donald Trump was reluctant to get involved in the Syrian War. After his inauguration, President Trump evidently took the secret oath of office that compels the launching of cruise missiles as soon as possible.

Raytheon, a maker of cruise missiles, is near the top of the corporate list for campaign contributions and lobbying. Its market capitalization surged by more than a billion dollars after the Syrian missile strike. To limit foreign aggression, President Dwight Eisenhower warned the people about the military-industrial complex.

To limit domestic aggression, Trump should restrain the medical-industrial complex. Like the old MIC, the new MIC is also propped up by government spending and debt and run by crony capitalists and their politician clients. Like bombing, medical care is sometimes necessary, but both consume wealth.

Buying bombs and hip joints on credit is sheer folly. Like defense contractors, big pharma, insurance companies and hospital chains have all become government utilities, guaranteed a profit. Obamacare forces citizens to buy medical insurance.

Simultaneously, the government-inspired medical-industrial complex is fighting competition and price transparency, which would bring down prices. Drug companies don’t want international markets, and health insurance companies don’t want interstate markets. Drug companies pursue product monopolies, while insurance companies carve America into monopoly fiefdoms.

Insurers were once in the business of protecting people from catastrophic loss. Now they peddle prepaid health care. The medical insurance market has become a giant mess of vote-buying, cronyism and redistribution of wealth in which young, healthy people are forced to buy products they do not need at a price they cannot afford.

Many of America’s hospitals were founded by local citizens, particularly women who advocated for the poor and held bake sales to raise money. Forced by government policy, these compassionate, non-profit entities merged into “nonprofit” behemoths run by administrators who profit handsomely. Now government policy is essentially forcing doctors to work for these corporations.

Every stage of this evolution has led to higher costs for patients. The medical-industrial complex wrote the Ryancare bill, and Trump’s team is Goldman south.

For a speech, Wall Street paid Obama what he earned in one year as president. We have a one-party system of entrenched political elites and their corporate cronies. The uniparty was never going to let Wall Street fail or be prosecuted because fat wallets matter.

Taoism is essentially an Eastern form of libertarianism. As China abandons its Taoist roots and acts more aggressively, it is becoming more like America. As America abandons its libertarian roots and becomes an aggressive, one-party state, it is becoming more like China, with worse food.

Cameron S. Schaeffer is a physician in Lexington.

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