Beaufort Today -

Health care just took a radical turn

Deflection makes us miss the important stuff. The drumbeat news of a special prosecutor in search of a crime is akin to Lowcountry rainfall this summer: too much.

With grand jury in tow, Robert Muller is limited only by his imagination on the number of White House connections that can be investigated for possible collusion with Russians. For possible interference with a presidential election. Or for possible illegal financial dealings. Or for any other possibilities that may lead to the discovery of a crime committed by someone somewhere for something.

As commentator Charles Krauthammer has pointed out, collusion may be reprehensible but it is not a crime. Mueller might have to keep digging until he can pin tax fraud on the sister of a cousin of a former Trump campaign worker. Whom the president could then pardon.

We Americans love torturing ourselves like this. It takes forever and costs us a fortune, and in the end produces results that satisfy no one. But there is news drama and fodder for late-night comedy.

The distraction, though, prevents us from being aware of all the positive things going on around us. Like the Obama birther debate, the endless Trump/Russia blather sucks up oxygen and energy, leaving us too tired to care. About what?

Last week, scientists fixed a faulty gene in a human embryo. They were able to successfully edit out a mutation that would cause a heart problem. Rad? You bet. But it gets even more so when you consider the down-line ramifications. Not only is heart disease canceled for this little tyke, since the problem is heritable, it’s canceled for all the tyke’s descendants.

The debate no longer centers on the possibility of human gene engineering, but swings to the impact the accomplishment will have on society, culture, religion.

For example, one issue already raised is whether the procedure will be beyond the reach of anyone but the very wealthy. Ah, but the elimination of an unwanted heritable condition will eventually download to everyone as designer babies inevitably mix with the masses.

Religious objections may be leveled at the procedure itself but will be unable to edit out the benefits produced via expanding eugenics. Attitudes will become twisted with positive and negative viewpoints in juxtaposition.

A marriage proposition may be prefaced by the question, “Are you susceptible to Alzheimer’s?” and met with a response such as, “I can assure you my PRDX7 gene has been favorably adjusted.”

Imagine the gradual purge of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and a host of others with feared names that have stricken indiscriminately, without warning. Disease prevention is far more exciting than any promising treatment could ever be.

This is how the free market approaches a subject like health care. Obviously, there are many deep questions on multiple levels that must be thoroughly debated. We can do that, once we abandon our preoccupation with drivel.

Columnist Michael Raymond can be reached at mikejraymond@yahoo.com.

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