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Medical coverage for seniors should not be taken away 

By Ming Wang, MD, PhD, Wang Vision

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 whole-heartedly 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 the U.S. 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!

I would like to mention here a case in point which is in fact something that every American should know today since it may dramatically and negatively impact his/her own healthcare in upcoming years. In the U.S. today, if you have sight loss due to cataract, 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 insurances 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 healthcare 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. I recently saw a patient who flew in all the way from Canada to have cataract surgery. She had suffered from a blinding cataract and had been on the government waiting list to have surgery for years. I learned from her that in Canada if you need cataract surgery, you have to first apply for governmental approval and then you have to wait, possibly for years (with a blinding cataract!). Even when your turn comes, you still won't have what you really want either, i.e., the choice of having and paying for the upgraded premium lens and having insurances cover the much bigger part of the cost, i.e., of the cataract surgery itself. Even though you do have insurance, you still have to pay, from out-of-pocket, not only for the upgraded lens but also for the entire cost of the cataract surgery itself! 

What happened to the Canadian citizens then who need cataract surgery, want the premium lens to regain full range of vision, but who could not afford to pay for the much bigger part of the cost (the surgery)? The answer is: 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 what 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 two and half centuries ever since our founding fathers built this great nation of freedom and choice. Let's not forget about that! 

Ming Wang, Harvard & MIT (MD, magna cum laude), PhD (laser physics) is clinical associate professor of ophthalmology of University of Tennessee, founding president of Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce and director of Wang Vision Cataract and LASIK Center, Nashville, TN. He has performed over 55,000 cataract and LASIK surgeries (including on over 4,000 doctors). He introduced bladeless all-laser LASIK to the state and implanted the state’s first new generation premium lens for cataract surgery.  He can be reached at,

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