As I was watching Jon Stewart last night eviscerate Rick Santelli of CNBC for calling struggling homeowners “losers”, it occurred to me how differently lawmakers have responded to the banking and insurance industries collapse then to the isolated behavior of an ostracized, fringe doctor, whose pregnancy “success” rates are only rivaled by George Bush’s approval ratings.
AIG operated a credit default swap division who orchestrated and perpetrated a fraudulent scheme which preyed upon customers who thought they were “buying insurance” from a legitimate financial entity. Unfortunately for these customers, AIG was selling insurance when they had no insurance to sell. How did our government respond? By bailing AIG out to the tune of loans which will likely exceed 450 billion dollars. To date, there has been no overhaul of the financial regulatory system. No regulations to stop predatory credit practices or to beef up consumer protection. No, the government just continues to throw money at AIG to save them from their own criminal conduct.
Now look at the response to the Nadya Suleman octuplet delivery. We have seen states from California to Georgia seek to impose regulations that have legislatures practicing medicine and superimposing their judgment over the medical community. Georgia has gone so far as to propose the elimination of compensation for men and women willing to serve as gamete donors in a daft effort to restrict access to assisted reproduction, allegedly to avoid a repeat octuplet incident.
So why the disparate reaction? We have two industries that exploited existing regulations and violated the law and they will be bailed out from the consequences of their fraudulent behavior. On the other hand, we have a renegade physician whose successes in 2006 can be counted on one hand and politicians are tripping over themselves to propose legislation that will emasculate an entire industry. It gives new meaning to throwing the baby out with the bath water.
The response by the infertility community has been swift, unanimous and proportionate. Universally, physicians condemned the practices of Michael Kamrava. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine and Medical Board of California immediately began investigations that will likely lead to significant disciplinary action. We are not talking about a problem endemic in the industry like the fraud we have seen in our financial institutions. Yet, our politicians choose to focus their efforts by targeting the most vulnerable in our society as a result of the inexcusable behavior of a lone doctor in an isolated incident while turning a blind eye to a real crisis that threatens the global economy and well-being of millions. Go figure.