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China holds lesson for U.S. health care

Published in the Tennessean, 10/18/10.

By Ming Wang, M.D.

Tennessee Newspaper Article about Nashville LASIK Surgeon, Dr. Wang

Recently, The Tennessean published an article by Professor Richard Grant about less governmental control being the key factor responsible for the booming Chinese economy today.

As the founding president of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce, I have become familiar with what is going on in China in recent years, as our chamber has been helping Tennessee companies to increase export to China and also helping Chinese manufacturing firms to move to Tennessee to create more jobs here.

I have to say that I agree with Professor Grant wholeheartedly that less government control and more freedom to the people and business community is what has made China what it is today. That brings us to a troublesome trend, which has been developing in our country in recent years.

While the rest of the world, including China and Russia, has finally realized that socialism simply did not work (it had only made people poor) and hence, free enterprise and less government control is the way to go, we here in the U.S. are, for some reason, going the other way. Our government has implemented policies that have only brought more (not less) government control and less choice and freedom to our citizens.

We could lose benefits, choices

I would like to mention here a case in point, which is in fact something that every American should know, since it may dramatically and negatively impact his/her own health care in upcoming years.

In the U.S., if you have sight loss due to cataracts, you do have the choice to choose and pay for an upgraded premium lens that can give you a full range of vision, while having the majority of the cost of the cataract surgery itself reimbursed by insurance or Medicare. But tomorrow, that benefit and choice may be taken away from us.

In fact, that has already happened in some of the more socialistic healthcare countries such as Canada, where health care is under full government control and ration, and as a result much of the freedom and choices that we here in the U.S. enjoy (and take for granted) today are no longer available.

What happens to Canadian citizens who need cataract surgery, want the premium lens to regain full range of vision, but cannot afford to pay for the much bigger part of the cost (the surgery), even though they do have insurance? They simply won’t be able have the cataract surgery at all.

That may actually happen to us here in the U.S. in the near future, if our country is indeed allowed go further in the direction of even more socialistic healthcare reform, more government control and lesser choice and freedom for us as citizens.

Why can’t we learn something from the rest of the world, from countries such as China, which has learned (in a hard way) that socialism really did not work? It is less government control and more freedom and choice to its citizens that has helped China come out of poverty in recent decades, and is also exactly what has helped us here in the U.S. over the last 2? centuries since the Founding Fathers built this great nation of freedom and choice.

Let’s not forget about that.

Ming Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee, founding president of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce and director of Wang Vision Cataract and LASIK Center, Nashville; email


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