Different Car, Same Driver by Pat Conrad MD

Years ago at a medical school reunion, a graduate from an earlier year stood up to proudly proclaim how much he was donating to the school, to set the example for the rest of us.  The moment someone starts doing ostentatious good is the moment I mistrust and dislike him.

So enter former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy, a do-gooder with other peoples’ money if ever there was one.  If you forgot, the insufferable son was arrested in 2006 for crashing into a barricade near the capitol in D.C.  He had just left a bar, claimed he was late for a vote that had already happened, and blamed his state on Ambien and Phenergan.  So Kennedy didn’t seek reelection, and instead became a mental health advocate, citing his long experience with bipolarism and substance abuse.

By way of a bipartisan statement, I have hated the failed War on Drugs since the Reagan years, through every administration.  It is especially galling to see physicians fall for this open-ended, no-win assault on a problem that government does not have the means to fix.  Now it’s the War on Opioids, and who should sit on the current administration’s opioid commission but L’il Patrick himself.  In fact Kennedy is “the CEO of the behavioral health nonprofit Kennedy Forum, which is funded in part by major drug makers and addiction-treatment companies. He received more than $1.1 million in total compensation from the organization between 2014 and 2016.”  And without a bar tab, that nets a nice payment toward the pool.  “Kennedy also sits on the boards of eight corporations deeply invested in Washington’s response to the opioid crisis, from which he said he collects director fees and holds an equity stake in the firms.”

Not that a disgraced pol-turned-big-bucks-lobbyist is anything new in D.C., even though Kennedy insists that he’s not strictly a lobbyist.  As a “non” lobbyist, Kennedy constantly advocates spending more of other peoples’ money on combatting addiction, and the firms in which he has a stake will likely get sprayed with tax dollars the more the White House fights opioids.  His firms also peddle pain and opioid management drugs, and a “brain sensing headband” that promotes meditation as an addiction rehabilitation aid.”

So former-Congressman, what about that nice coin rolling in, hmm?   “I spent 22 years as a public servant, and most of my colleagues can attest, with all these demands on us as electeds (sic), you’re not making money in government.  I feel very grateful that I have the chance to continue to work on the issues I’ve always worked on and make a living for myself and family.”

Kennedy’s Forum lists donors including drug manufacturers, and health care companies.  He has lobb-, uh, advised the current Labor Secretary on enforcing “parity” laws to force Big Insurance to provide more mental health coverage.  Kennedy is also pushing for increased buprenorphine permission for more physicians.  Which is just doggone nice of him, considering how much oversight folks like you and I require, lest we not help the public in the way that makes the most sense to public minded servants like the Kennedys.

Read the whole article, and it is as self-interested and slime-covered as the most sugary bilge ever published by the ABMS.  The Kennedy Forum and the like will push the dupes and witless on Capitol Hill and in the White House to further order and constrain health care to “do good.”  Physicians are in the trenches of a war without end, amen, and for great profit.

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  2 comments for “Different Car, Same Driver by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Steve O'
    April 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    We all have to be wary of the poison that afflicted most of the Kennedy family. And I’m not talking about substance abuse dependency disorder.
    There is a lethal combination to arrogance and ignorance that preys on the Kennedys. (See Michael Kennedy cit. inf. I don’t consider it some flaw that allows us to discard everyone in the family as insufferable, although most are. I suspect that America has not seen a quality politician of the rank of JFK since he died.
    But arrogance and ignorance is more dangerous then benzodiazepines and opiates in combination – something that the reformers have all but banned for the same reason, by the way.
    Here is toxic activism in a nutshell. YOU, by the Grace of God, are endowed with special awareness not given to the many. YOU espy a problem that has been neglected, and by fortunate coincidence, lends itself to an easy and simple solution. Being woefully ignorant of history, a vital skill required for good politics, you do not even bother to discover that the problem is long-understood and massive, and one for which many attempts at broad solution have failed. (e.g. peace in the Balkans, peace in the Middle East, poverty, war and disease.) You propose an awful solution that actually makes the problem worse. Rather than treating opposition as possibly genuine and well-thought-out, you bulldoze over the problem, knowing in your heart that the opposition is venal, selfish and small-sighted. When the problem blows up like a tinderbox, you go on to the next solution, and blame The Enemy.
    There’s the story on the Opiate Plague and the Crisis in Medicine (year 20) and all such activist disasters. Activism is the evil cartoon version of progressivism, which plans intelligently for the future – the Orcs and Trolls of politics who believe screaming is activism.
    In the mind of many Kennedys who are “living in the problem,” as AAA might put it, they have no working conscience. It is the legacy of generations of arrogance, which is bad enough; but when coupled with ignorance, is woeful. There is no reason for the Kennedy family not to be genuine advocates for healing the damage of addiction, for there are so few who have not been savaged by it personally. Only arrogance makes addiction the problem of the toothless of West Virginia, not the sailors of Hyannisport.
    Genuine progressivism blames systems and not persons; recognizes that arrogance and ignorance are character blemishes which we all bear; strive for the results of healing without hurting, and improvement versus platitudes. It is imbued with sufficient implication of the responsibility and morality inherent in societal Christianity, to make it utterly unpalatable to almost every activist.
    When you count the number of chronic pain patients “fixed” by the broad pronouncements of idiots on both sides of the aisle, you realize that the use of opiates is the least of the problems facing America. We are dying because of our inability to improve ourselves meaningfully. Societies and civilizations that cannot keep up with Reality, die out.
    PS: Michael Kennedy died on December 31, 1997, in a skiing accident in Aspen Mountain, Colorado, playing football while on skis with several other members of the Kennedy family when at approximately 4:15 p.m. he hit a tree. Kennedy was not wearing a helmet or other safety equipment. Some have stated that the family had been previously warned by the ski patrol to cease the activity. That’s beyond simple dumbass.

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  2. Perry
    April 22, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Joe Kennedy was a bootlegger and a gangster. His family is now doing the same under the guise of politics.

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