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Regulatory

Letter to the Editor: Sunshine Act, the Scarlet A

Letter to the Editor: Sunshine Act, the Scarlet A

From Lee Hieb, M.D.

I read with interest and insight your article, “Sunshine Act and Beyond: Improving Compliance.” Not surprisingly, there is “discrepancy” between what surgeons (in newspeak,“HCPs”) and corporations report for items less than $100,000. Presumably this is due to things such as “taking the client to lunch” or small “honoraria” for surgeons who give up hours with their families to speak at a meeting or contribute ideas to some company regarding their products.

In no other business in the world are customers treated as such scurrilous potential criminals. To be logged into the Federal databank for accepting money from a drug/device manufacturer is like being branded with a scarlet “A”—in this case the “A” standing for “Accessory” to the crime of “doing business.” We risk being publicly paraded in the newspaper with dollar signs and values by our names. It is laughable to think that Wall Street acts this way towards its banking clients. Warren Buffet rents Porsches in Omaha for his big Berkshire Hathaway investors who attend the yearly business meeting, and I'll bet you not one dime of that expense is reported to any databank for “compliance.” (I say “bet,” but to remain safe from being charged with a pre-crime, I'm betting nothing of monetary value.)

“Compliance” is a term that we have accepted as the sheeple whom we have become. Compliance is what you force on the wayward, the misbehaving, the criminal in jail for rehabilitation to social norms. I feel lucky that we are not subjected to “Struggle Sessions” a la Mao, where we potential criminal doctors tell of our many faults in using what we feel is the best instrumentation/implants for our patients, and that we have allowed our representative to take us to a $10 lunch. And you from industry must confess in trying to build your business by treating your customers well. Dear God, how corrupt can it have gotten?

Newsflash: None of this is constitutional. The Federal government is supposedly limited to enumerated powers, but we have allowed them to usurp unlimited power, intruding more and more into the everyday life of Americans. For the first time in history, the Competitive Enterprise Institute stated this year that regulations were costing the average American more than taxes. But the big cost is more than monetary; the irretrievable cost is to our liberty. I was asked to run as the Libertarian Candidate for Governor of Iowa, and agreed to do so because I have learned from experiences such as this “Sunshine Act”—sponsored by none other than my Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley—that we cannot afford the current rush to total “compliance” to the ever-expanding Orwellian State.

Lee Hieb, M.D., is a spine and trauma specialist practicing in Iowa. She is a member of the ORTHOPRENEUR® Editorial Board.