Ann Coulter on doctors and lawyers

No stranger to controversy, she goes after lawyers with both barrels:

The only “crisis” in health care in this country is that doctors are paid too little. (Also they’ve come up with nothing to help that poor Dennis Kucinich.)

But the Democratic Party treats doctors like they’re Klan members. They wail about how much doctors are paid and celebrate the trial lawyers who do absolutely nothing to make society better, but swoop in and steal from the most valuable members of society.

Maybe doctors could get the Democrats to like them if they started suing their patients.

It’s only a matter of time before the best and brightest students forget about medical school and go to law school instead. How long can a society based on suing the productive last?

(via a reader tip)

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  • Mike

    That’s great, but this is the same piece of garbage who said the 9/11 widows were “witches” and that John Edwards was “a fag”. So her input means so little that I shudder that Kevin even quoted her. If we stop quoting her, maybe she’ll just go away.

  • Anonymous

    As a lawyer, I’m glad we don’t have Ann Coulter on our team.

  • Anonymous

    Um, I’m pretty sure she is in fact a lawyer. And you’re welcome to her.

  • Payne Hertz

    Things must be getting pretty desperate in medical la-la land if you have to mine this dimwit’s rantings for quotes.

    As someone else said, glad she’s on your team.

  • Anonymous

    Yes! Have Coulter on your side for even more extortion. When all else fails, bring Haggis on board for yet another effort for how special the provider class is.

    ~Criminallopath~

  • Anonymous

    Nothing like a few good ad-hominem attacks to start the day….

    But then it makes it easy to ignore any significant point she may have. Bravo!

  • Anonymous

    Ann seems to have nailed it perfectly. The way you know this is true is that the lawyers go immediately to argumentum ad hominum, rather than address any of her brilliant observations.

  • Anonymous

    I know a gentleman who just lost access to his primary care doctor and his cardiologist because Blue Cross paid “only” 60% of his bill and the clinic was unwilling to settle for $150 monthly payments on the remainder. Yes, he applied for the clinic’s proudly advertised charity care/cost reduction progam. They lost his first application and filed away the second without taking any action — just turned it all over to a collection agency.

    Coulter (and others) might have more credibility if they addressed situations such as that, where greed and unproductive bureaucracies seem the real issue…not the tired cries of “it’s all about malpractice.”

  • Anonymous

    You know Coulter has hit some exposed nerves when you witness the virulence of attacks against her, not her ideas. She articulates uncomfortable and inconventient truths apologists of our current ridiculous healthcare system close their eyes to. Our shattered system is in free fall and yet physicians and healthcare workers still remain the too convenient targets of shallow Straw man arguments and distortions in this debate.

    Bravo, Kevin!

  • Anonymous

    re:
    “I know a gentleman who just lost access to his primary care doctor and his cardiologist because Blue Cross paid “only” 60% of his bill and the clinic was unwilling to settle for $150 monthly payments on the remainder. Yes, he applied for the clinic’s proudly advertised charity care/cost reduction progam. They lost his first application and filed away the second without taking any action — just turned it all over to a collection agency.”

    Having insurance does not guarantee they will pay (as they love to say). It is interesting that in ANY OTHER AREA (say defaulting on mortgages, car payments, credit card payments, auto rpeair payments) that there is little to no surprise to referral to collection agency’s and certainly no demonizing of the profession, however, when the bill comes from a doctor the expectation is that “I don’t have to pay it” and if the doctor refers to a collction agency, the doctor is demonized. This is the fact anon 7:33, I give “free care” daily, but if I can’t give so much of it my practice becomes bankupt. I also don’t have the luxury of increasing my fees even though my expenses increase. When is the last time you went to work for even a day “for free”?

    PS: I can’t stand Ann Coulter either, but I noticed none of the posters here actually addressed the issue she brought up, rather just personal attacks. That isn’t the way to debate a subject and it shows a lack of maturity by the above posters.

  • Anonymous

    Coulter’s history leaves her with little credibility on any subject. It is kind of like KKK Byrd of West Virginia shilling on equal rights. There is no prima facie or a priori assumption of credibility.

    ~Criminallopath~

  • Mike

    Ann Coulter is a fraud. Her comments carry as much weight as anything OJ Simpson might say. I don’t care if there’s one true statement in 900 lies. Her books are full of bogus citations (read The Daily Howler’s Bob Somerby, he’ll fill you in).

    She’s just a pointless person trying to make herslef famous, with no ideas or wit or purpose. Just another dope who’s part of the problem of today’s press/media garbage.

    So no, no kudos to Kevin for this one.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t confuse the messenger with the message. Despite her abrasive style Coulter is right on point here. Anybody try to find a primary doctor taking new patients lately?

  • Anonymous

    Criminallopath, your history doesn’t give much credibility to what you say either, so are you saying we ought to ignore you too?

    Coulter is a provocateuse. She loves to upset people. She knows she is obnoxious. So is Bill Maher. And so what?

    If what she said were said anonymously, would it be any more true or false?

  • Anonymous

    She’s right, even if you don’t like her.

  • Ex-Doc

    Ms. Coulter brings up the often-heard fear that “the best and brightest” won’t go into medicine. Is having the best and brightest sequestered into medicine really a good thing? From an economic perspective, the answer is probably no. Actually, it is more beneficial to a society for smartest folks to become inventors, entrepreneurs and researchers and thereby expand the economy. This will lead to the more jobs, greater innovation and economic growth. Physicians contribute little to the economy overall, since it’s a service-based business, largely uses government funding, and doesn’t lead to increased productivity in society (because expensive services are delivered to the elderly and disabled). More physicians performing more services are a drag rather than a stimulus to an economy. The health care industry profits from physicians, but there is no reason for the profits would be reduced by replacing smart physicians with those of average intelligence. Making medicine less attractive is exactly what the government wants, perhaps rightfully so.

  • Anonymous

    Has it been the Democrats cutting reimbursements this decade?

  • Anonymous

    “fact anon 7:33, I give “free care” daily, but if I can’t give so much of it my practice becomes bankupt.”

    Did you even read the post?
    60% of the bill was paid. The patient wanted to pay the rest, but the clinic would not accept $150/mo. toward payment.
    That’s not “free” nor is it an expectation of free services. It’s a reasonable attempt at a compromise which ultimately serves both parties. What the hell do you want — for the patient to go bankrupt? Is that fair, pal?

    I don’t favor delivering free care to the point of business failure and I don’t favor unmerited lawsuits (which I seriously doubt occur with the frequency suggested on this blog). I do support listening, working together, and compromising when it is mutually advantageous.

    I see very little of that ever championed here.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks anon I did read the post. You stated HIS INSURANCE (not him) paid 60% of the bill and he was unable (or unwilling) to pay the rest. I will say it again since you don’t seem to read posts yourself. Having insurance does not guarantee they will pay. If the insurance company does not pay then who does? The patient. Are you saying this practice should just “forgive” the bill or let him pay what he can or wants to? You have no understanding of how close to the edge many practices are. Just like any other business in this country. PCP’s practice gross receipts are often in the multimillion dollar range yet the doc themselves may bring home 80-120 K (the rest paying expenses). Before you scoff at that think about how many unpaid bills by your friend’s happen before a practice goes into the red (hint it doesn’t take very many). Frankly your statement makes it clear that you have never owned a business before…”pal”. Try paying 60% of your mortgage or other bills and then justify it whatever way you like, what do you honestly think will happen? (ie you would be referred to collections period). Why should a doctor allow his practice to be different and suffer adversly (including bankrupcy)? Additionally, did your friend actually understand the limits of his insurance? Do you (and he) understand that there are many “low income” clinics in this country in which you pay based on income. There are other options out there. The fact is I would love nothing more than to “forgive” all the outstanding debts owed to me in my practice. I want (and try) to be a “nice guy” who is sympathetic to others plight. But the simple fact is, I won’t be a private practice doctor very long under those circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, the time-payment plan. Nice when it works, but often it doesn’t. I deliver x-dollars of work today and you agree to pay me y-dollars per week/month until . . . whenever. Too often “whenever” is whenever the person owing moves or just gets tired of fulfilling the agreement. Meanwhile my bills are due now and in full.

    Sorry, but the time payment plan is nothing more or less than forced moneylending, usually without negotiations, as some care has usually been delivered and is unpaid-for at the time of the “negotiations”. Are doctors unreasonable to say no? Try getting other important services on those terms and tell me what you think.

    Just someone trying to make good and work with the person he owes? Maybe. But unfortunately those situations don’t often work out that way. Because that is the case, I don’t think any doctor is unreasonable to tell a patient to borrow from someone else; we don’t have to be moneylenders as well as physicians.

    Heartless, you might think? Put yourself in this situation: if you work for pay–like most people ought to–how would you feel to have your employer short your paycheck next payday and then tell you to let him pay you in increments of his choosing over the next six months? Would you think you had been taken advantage of, even if your employer was really and legitimately short of cash? Tell me you wouldn’t at least give thought to finding a more stable employer.

  • Anonymous

    Give me your house, I’ll pay you $150 a month.

  • Anonymous

    If that’s the tack you’re going to take, then you better get your money up front.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry that I don’t give the “60% and $150 a month” story any respect, but I’ve heard too many of these “friend of a friend” stories, and been on the receiving end of these payment plans that stop after two months.

    Payment plans where the first check has “payment in full” written on the memo, trying to play the game that the single check constitutes full payment. It’s not enforceable in my state, but they try it anyway. They go on to spread the story of the evil heartless doctor.

    Though I must admit, when I’ve seen the stories of medical entities taking a really hard line, it’s been the corporate entities, especially hospitals and hospital-employed medical practices. The doctors don’t have the ability to modify their billing because of their employee status.

    I can modify billing ’cause I’m independent. Though MANY patients have taken advantage of it.

    Oh, another trick is claiming no insurance, asking me to discount their bill, then telling me several months later, oh by the way, they really did have insurance at that time, and the insurance further discounts my discounted bill, and now I owe the patient a refund.

    And they’re shocked, SHOCKED, to find out I dismiss them from the practice. They think I’m a public utility.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous : 6:51 PM

    My credibility is just fine. It is why I go unrefuted on my points after hearing the usual nonsense of X years of schooling or best and brightest or some other of the usual nonsense and depose it with the basic economics of why the provider class is paid what it is (repeat after me… supply side restriction). Most of the providers also do rather poorly when it comes to their defending of abandoning existing patients for purely fiscal reasons while yet claiming to be “noble” or “caring” or demanding that their privileges be retained. I am here anytime you care to take a try.

    ~Criminallopath~

  • Okulus

    Hmm. Basic economics.

    So supply and demand rationalizations are fine, except when you decline to sell services below what your costs dictate you should sell services for. Then it is “abandonment.”

    Nothing like having your cake and eating it too.

    You play very loosely with abandonment as an idea, for someone who pretends to be a rigorous thinker.

    Abandonment does not mean declining to accept third-party reimbursement schemes that underpay or become unreasonable. Sorry, if I refuse an insurance plan and a patient who will not be willing to pay be out of plan decides to go elsewhere, that isn’t abandonment. Neither is it abandonment if I am the last doctor in my community to terminate a relationship with an abusive insurer, leaving those who will not see anyone else outside of that insurer’s plan to travel elsewhere for care. That is free choice, mine and my patients’. Sure it can be inconvenient; since when is finding goods and services at rock-bottom prices always convenient?

    Supply restriction? That is your old canard. Show me where you can make qualified physicians quicker and cheaper. Name a place where the training is at the same level of quality or better and the true cost is any less than here. I doubt you can (and please, Mr.. “economist”, don’t forget the real costs of education in all those European quasi-socialist wonderland states that get passed on to the taxpayers. That is plenty expensive, and you know it, it just doesn’t get counted in their fictional per capita health expenditures as it does in the USA.)

  • Anonymous

    Basic economics Okulus. Restriction of supply of those that can legally provide a service for an existing or increasing demand will increase their compensation rate for service. Flexner understood as much and admitted it.

    “The curse of medical education is the excessive number of schools.”

    For all of the “do no harm” and “we are special” pabulum put forth by the providers to obtain their position since the time of Flexner, we see little of upholding of the social contract when it comes to responsibility commensurate with the privileged system in which domestic allopaths operate within (competition kept to a minimum, perpetual employment and special legal privileges available to no other profession). If the providers are unwilling or unable to meet their responsibility and wish to be treated like everyone else (including the abandonment of patients because it might cut into the six figure after expense renumeration) then we can start by dismantling the market privileges of the providers. You must realize that patients have no free choice. The onerous restrictions of Flexner saw that such would be the case.

    As far as picking a place where one can train equally qualified providers one need look no further than the Tijuana Techs of the world… the schools from which graduates need to simply pass Steps I-III of the USMLE (being held to a higher standard no less than their domestic counterparts) and complete a residency in order to practice domestically. Completing a residency and having higher requisite scores on the boards… actually sounds like a bit more qualified than their domestic brethren.

  • Anonymous

    “You must realize that patients have no free choice. The onerous restrictions of Flexner saw that such would be the case.”

    Crim,

    You live in a fantasy world. Patients have no free choice? What sphere of unreality do you live in? And you didn’t even address Okulus’ points. As far as your bogus point about a “social contract” – actually, while physicians have continued to provide free care, and continue to provide undercompensated care (well, maybe not in your sphere of unreality), the government, insurers, the legal system, and , yes, even patients themselves, have broken that contract time and time again. So don’t even try to play that tired old cliche – it’s meaningles in this day and age.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I addressed each and every point that Okulus raised. Your dislike of the answers doesn’t change the fact that answers were provided. If you feel as if a point was not addressed in sufficient detail then please point it out.

    As far as the sphere of “unreality” that I live in, it is the one where idolatry of humans is put in the garbage heap along with the idolatry of that which is created by the mind of humans.

    And yes, patients do not have a choice. Do you really wish to get into a debate of how much choice there can be and actually is in the current system?

  • Anonymous

    Crim,

    Whether or not I “like” your answers is really immaterial. That comment is a smokescreen. As far as your answering Okulus’ points – no, you didn’t really address all of them, such as the point Okulus raised about discontinuing insurance contracts not being equal to abandonment. It sure as hell isn’t abandonment – though obviously it is in your philosophical world view. And you certainly didn’t take issue with my point about the non-existence of the “social contract”.

    And, yes, Crim, patients do have a choice, and they exercise their right to choose all the time, whether it be in South Jersey, where I am, or elsewhere. While they may not be able to financially be able to exercise their freedom to choose, that is NOT the fault of physicians, but that of the system. Just don’t try to falsely link doctors to your perceived lack of patient choice. After all, we didn’t create managed care.

  • Anonymous

    Coulter’s article is one of the most honest I have read in a long time. Of course doctors don’t go into medicine for the money.. they’ve seen to it that doctors don’t make money, with plummeting reimbursements to keep the HMO fat, and out-of-control malpractice premiums to sustain a system to keep the charlatan attorneys fat. It is a joke. I even know of a recent case in which the doctor was found NOT GUILTY of malpractice, but the jury STILL awarded the plaintiff 6 figures!! The system is so out of control in order to benefit these pigs, that OBS, neurosurgeons & internists will be dropping like flies. I know of what I speak. I am on the front lines and experiencing this atrocity first-hand. Let’s see if these attys will still keep doing this if they DON’T have contingency! Congratulations, Anne!!

  • Anonymous

    I love how all you, I assume doctors, congratulate Coulter on her “insightful” comments concerning trial lawyers as if these guys are fabricating the cases brought against your profession. Attorneys are merely representatives of their clients; therefore, without a complaining plaintiff, there is no case. Now, of course there are some malpractice cases that maybe questionable, but to denegrate the entire profession is ridiculous. Time and again doctors use malpractice insurance and trial lawyers as the reasons why patients are being charged $1,000 for a five minute office visit but it seems to me like this isn’t the true problem. Malpractice occurs, and there is a need for someone to represent the damaged party. Shouldn’t one be compensated if a towel is left inside her after the doctor closes her up? Or are you saying that we can just look the other way? Additionally, if you ever actually look at the bill the doctor sends you, especially the one that comes after you’ve had a procedure, you’ll notice that you are charged for services that you didn’t even receive. Why do bed pans cost so much? And why am I being charged for something that was self-administered? Lastly, how any medical professional could be whining about being underpaid is beyond me. I have too many doctor friends, who are getting paid over $200,000 a year to do no more than look at x-rays, for the cries of under compensation to seem credible.

  • Anonymous

    I may be able to offer some insight here. I am a lawyer (though no longer practicing med mal. When I did, I had the good fortune to handle cases on both sides. Moreover, I live in a state that enacted significant curbs on damages in med mal cases a few years ago. This was done because the insurances were driven up by trial lawyers and were “killing” the docs. With that, here’s what I know:
    1) Most malpractice is NEVER sued on. And a good bit is flat covered up by docs and hospitals. They should go to jail;
    2) When malpractice does occur the effects can be deadly…but in the worst cases the patient survives to be tortured by a life ruined;
    3) Despite the passage of several years with claims being reduced by legislation, malpractice premiums have dropped a whopping…0%. It was all a scam.
    4) Some cases are brought that are weak or frivolous. The lawyers that bring these go under. You see, ins. companies don’t settle med mal cases to make them go away. They always fight. Even when the doc is Jack the Ripper; and
    5) Docs tell us they deserve great money because they do great work. Cool. Me too. But if I screw someone up, I expect to be sued and pay for it. That’s why I carry insurance. But here is an altenative: If you will accpet a cap on your income, I’ll accept a cap on your liability. Fair?

    PS– One last note: it was parasitic trial lawyers that got rid of the Ford Pinto, the Corvair, side-saddle fuel tanks, that got safety glass in homes and cars, and that generally expose fraud and corruption. Or did you think corporate America would do those things on their own because it has a conscience?