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Oct 24 2013

Good riddance, Michael Lotfi

Michael Lotfi was a doctor in training, but no more. He’s quitting. And he blames President Obama, because…Obamacare!

After telling us how deep his lifelong commitment to becoming a doctor was, and how deeply in debt he is, he announces that he’s giving up on that precious dream. Why?

After quite literally losing my hair from the internal conflict, considering the sunk costs and evaluating different avenues I have decided.

I have decided that I believe in the principles of a truly free-market, and I trust the free-market. Because of this deep, internal value system I cannot, with clear conscience, continue on this path. My life has value. Such value cannot be calculated by Washington bureaucrats. I won’t allow it. Only a true free-market can accurately assess the value I am capable of.

Mr President, I’m leaving the medical field. I’m hanging up the white coat. However, let me be clear. You have not won. Unless something “changes”, you’ve lost and will continue to lose. You will fail because you lack principle. Meanwhile, we will succeed because we are born of principle.

So he weighed his deep commitment to free market values against his personal commitment to saving lives, and decided that the free market was more important.

I applaud his decision to leave medicine, then, because I’d rather have doctors who love medicine than doctors who love capitalism and money. And yes, I agree that he’s a man of principle…it’s just that his principles are venal and fucked up.

Bye! Have fun being a plutocratic parasite!


As has been pointed out in the comments, Lotfi is a poseur. His essay carefully phrases everything to give the impression he’s in med school, and he poses in a lab coat and stethoscope, but he isn’t actually a med student. He’s a “political commentator”, or no-talent hack with no real skills.

107 comments

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  1. 1
    doublereed

    Wait, is he saying that his life’s value should be determined by the free-market? So… actuaries?

    Because his life’s value isn’t being calculated by Washington bureaucrats. It’s being calculated by Washington actuaries.

    No, I’m sorry. I’m confused by what he means. No sense.

  2. 2
    Reginald Selkirk

    Meanwhile, we will succeed because we are born of principle.

    It’s not enough to have principles. Your principles should be good.

  3. 3
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Something tells me that if the free market determined his doctor skills to not be worth shit, he’d be the first complaining and blaming it on everybody else.

  4. 4
    Brother Yam

    Two words for the future of this fellow: Wingnut Welfare. We’ll see him writing columns for some awful third-tier right-wing rag any time now.

  5. 5
    Inaji

    Only a true free-market can accurately assess the value I am capable of.

    Mr. Lofti, congratulations on figuring out you would have made a very lousy doctor. After all, doctors generally need to be interested in people, and enjoy helping, all that silly nonsense which would, of course, stand in the way of you stuffing your pockets.

  6. 6
    Seize

    Considering how bloody difficult it is to get into medical school and how protected a position he is voiding within our economy, I welcome him to fuck off to wherever he would like. May there be three square meals a day and plenty of books should he come out of his libertarian snit and want to be educated.

  7. 7
    mothra

    “Me thinks he doth protest too much.” Mid-term grades are out this week, it is possible he would have been asked to leave at the end of the semester.

  8. 8
    Rich Woods

    Phew. That’s one fewer beancounter in the world capable of killing me.

  9. 9
    raven

    This is gibberish.

    If you try to unpack it, it is meaningless.

    1. There is nothing to prevent him from starting his own practice and refusing to take Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance purchased through the exchange sites. He could demand payment in gold if he wanted to instead of fake fiat currencies.

    2. Or he could get his MD and move to one of the Libertarian paradises. There are 220 countries in the world and surely, one of them has discovered the magic in Libertarianism.

    I do have to agree he has unwittingly done the world a huge favor. I wouldn’t let a doc like that near a sick goldfish.

  10. 10
    Juliana Ewing

    I sure don’t want a doctor who doesn’t realize that the overwhelmingly most likely possibility for why he’s losing his hair is that he has inherited the tendency to go bald.

  11. 11
    tashaturner

    I always thought helping people should be the main value for a doctor. Money 2nd.

    I would be surprised to find as many doctors are retiring/switching to cash only as comments & he are saying given more people are going to have insurance & insurance is required to cover more things so less people should have to default on medical debt.

  12. 12
    carlie

    And yet, the people who are supporting him are the same ones who vilify teachers who want to get a living wage as heartless and greedy people who should be in it for “the love of the job”.

  13. 13
    Lofty

    Mister Lofti, the free market has decided your worth. It’s zero.

  14. 14
    carlie

    I doubt this guy is even in med school yet, much less partway through.

  15. 15
    purestevil

    That pure Ayn Rand diet can really mess a person up. I mean, there’s some good tasty stuff there, but one should also get their recommended daily allowance of Noam Chomsky.

  16. 16
    Al Dente

    I was listening to NPR a few days ago. They had an ER doctor saying Obamacare should lighten his load because more people will be able to afford to get physical exams and routine treatments from general practitioners and won’t be using ERs for treatment.

  17. 17
    ChasCPeterson

    well, there’s always pharmaceutical sales.
    (not that there’s anything wrong with that, intrinsically)

  18. 18
    Jason

    I agree with Carlie @14. I bet this guy’s a fake. Remember the people who appeared on Hannity recently, or the viral email about how a person was charged thousands of dollars for getting halfway through the ACA website signup process? All bogus.

    The prediction that all the doctors would leave the field has been around for a few years now. The prophecy is out there. All someone had to do is pretend to fulfill it and then: “AHA! WE TOLD YOU SO!”

  19. 19
    raven

    It sounds like he is blaming Obamacare aka ACA.

    For Cthulhu’s sake, it is a minor tweak to our kludged together health care system. Much of it is setting up a private health insurance exchange. Private as in capitalist insurance companies.

    1. IIRC, maybe 30 million could be covered by the ACA. Who knows how many will actually sign up? It might only be 10 million a few years from now. Out of a nation of 317 million, this is no big deal except to the people who can’t get or afford health coverage right now.

    2. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ACA will save the feds $20 billion a year. Save, not cost.

    3. There are costs with the ACA but there are savings as well, large ones. The wingnuts are fond of pointing out that thanks to Reagan, anyone can get “free” care at the ER. Which isn’t true. You get immediate care with no followup and no routine, preventative care. And it isn’t free or efficient for that matter. The costs from unpaid bills are picked up by society at large one way or another.

    A wild guess with this guy is that there is something else going on and he is blaming Obama.

  20. 20
    gussnarp

    Only a true free-market can accurately assess the value I am capable of.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I’m not sure what you think you’re going to do for a living or where you’re going to do it, because I don’t think you’ll find that “truly free-market” anywhere on the planet.

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life…” We don’t have to guess which one twisted this guy’s mind.

  21. 21
    raven

    I doubt this guy is even in med school yet, much less partway through.

    A good point. We don’t know if he is a fake but it is entirely possible.

    The GOP is on to their plan B, actively, openly trying to sabotage the ACA by spreading lies. Everyone gets an implanted microchip, anal probed by Reptilian UFO aliens, raped, forced contraception, and on and on.

    There is a new lie every day. The latest is that nonprofit hospitals will be taxed and free clinics will be shut down. Neither of which is true.

  22. 22
    ChasCPeterson

    carlie’s right. If you follow the link and read the whole (poorly written) letter, it’s clear he never even started med school, despite the picture of him with white coat and stethoscope. Here’s his bio:

    Michael Lotfi is a Persian, American political commentator and adviser living in Nashville, Tennessee where he works as the associate director for the Tenth Amendment Center. Lotfi founded TheLibertyPaper.org, which is an online news source that is visited daily by readers in over 135 countries. Lotfi graduated in the top 5% of the country with top honors from Belmont University, an award winning, private university located in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Gotta love the Kw*kisms. What does it even mean to claim graduating in the top 5% of the whole country?

    Dude’s a poser, a wanker, and a dumbass.

  23. 23
    gussnarp

    @Al Dente #16 – In the gym locker room the other day I heard two guys rather loudly discussing the ACA. Given where I live, I figure I would soon hear about how our Muslim President was going to march us to the death panels. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a full throated and well reasoned argument in favor of the ACA. The guy was an ER doctor. I expect a few docs will actually quit the profession. Mostly older ones nearing retirement anyway, and mostly in lucrative fields not benefited by the ACA or GPs. But I expect ER docs are mostly ecstatic.

    Don’t worry, the next guy I overheard discussing Obamacare was parroting all the Faux Snooze lies and I knew my neighborhood hadn’t changed.

  24. 24
    ChasCPeterson

    oh, and it’s obvious that the whole first part of his letter was self-plagiarlized from his med school application essay. I’ve seen enough of them to know.

  25. 25
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, sounds like he had a seminar in how to set up a practice, and found out his fees are negotiated/limited by health insurance companies. And that the insurance companies get cranky if he tries to extort more money from the poor patients. Since the highly profitable health insurance companies are going along with ACA, Obama must be the problem. Dang, need a new tin-foil-hat. Can’t get crazy enough.

  26. 26
    numerobis

    It’s true what he says. There are NO DOCTORS in Canada. Or France. Or Germany. Or Britain. Or Singapore…

    Somalia, on the other hand, is overrun by free-market doctors.

  27. 27
    barbyau

    In what way was the current system a free market? It was a highly distorted market. Why do libertarians forget that in an industry with large profit margins, competition should swarm in to drive those profit margins down. Profit margins for insurance companies were huge and increasing.

    Likewise having insurance assigned to you based on which job you have isn’t a proper market either. Nor is being told which doctors or hospitals you can go to based on who is “in network.”

    Why is it that free market fetishists seem to have no idea how markets are supposed to work? They can never tell the difference between rent seeking and profit seeking and they champion rent seeking to everyone’s detriment.

    Honestly managed care, insurance companies, pharma, and medical devices have been sucking up more and more of the pie. Health care workers, like nurses and doctors, have been getting squeezed for quite some time now. Controlling costs on those other things should allow us to pay these guys more.

    When United Health Care shows billion dollar profits year after year, maybe he should look at how the current system is stealing money from him before he makes up some bs about how a system that is not yet implemented is costing him.

    And in any event, libertarian paradise means squeezing workers to maximize profits, so I don’t see what he’s so upset about. Oh yeah, HIS job is different. It’s only other people who are supposed to get squeezed for every last cent of profit.

  28. 28
    karmacat

    I skimmed through what he wrote. He has no clue how the Affordable care act works. He also has no clue how insurance companies affect how doctors practice. The whole problem when the US healthcare is that it is too dependent on the free market. Insurance companies are more concerned about their CEOs and stockholders. The doctors who make the most money are the ones who do the most procedures. It certainly isn’t based on how good the doctor is or how much the doctor can prevent diseases such has heart disease, etc.

  29. 29
    Robert B.

    Actually, from what a nurse I know tells me about doctors, he’d have fit right in.

    But it’s… sad, to hear someone think their worth is something that not only needs to be measured, but can only be measured by one faceless soulless oppressive conglomerate or another.

  30. 30
    boskerbonzer

    WTF?

    “I have been on a path to enter the Air Force and continue my education in medicine. I have been dreaming of specializing in pediatric neurosurgery for half a decade.”

    He wants to join the Air Force, but doesn’t want the government to interfere in his career? Truly, he’s too stupid to even play a doctor on TV.

  31. 31
    besomyka

    I missed the part of the ACA that made it illegal to go into private practice and only take the insurance that you want to.

    The fewer people like that in positions of potential authority the better.

  32. 32
    Muz

    I tell ya, criticising someone’s views as being verging on religious is a pretty trite argument that’s better avoided. But just listen to this guy! Free Market/anti-government nuts don’t half make it hard.

    (I was going to guess that this is also someone looking for a bit of that Fox News play and that could well be the case. They’re parading out zealots talking rubbish about how Obamacare is ruining everything almost daily, so why shouldn’t he get a slice…)

  33. 33
    otrame

    So that degree from, what was it? Belmont University (which is apparently a fairly decent private school) hasn’t helped him all that much in getting into med school, huh? Or did he get in and then find out that though he had been a big fish in that small pond, so was everyone else who got in. This is often a MAJOR shock to young medical students–suddenly, being fairly smart and willing to work your ass off just isn’t good enough to put you on top anymore, because your competition is also fairly smart and willing to work their asses off. A percent simply cannot deal with that. They can’t stand not being in the “top five percent” (no matter how hard they work) and leave, often with truly imaginative excuses.

  34. 34
    ChasCPeterson

    …and of course the US Air Force Medical Service is renowned for their skills in pediatric neurosurgery.

    (for the record, the dipshit’s name seems to be Lotfi, t before f)

  35. 35
    otrame

    Oh, should have refreshed. Wants the Air Force to pay for his med school. Ha. Military medicine is the closest thing socialist medicine there is in this country.

    So, crybaby.

  36. 36
    PZ Myers

    Oh, jeez, you’re right: that is the beginning of a med school application essay, and it’s clear when you read it more carefully: he’s not in med school. He’s talking up going into med school, but as I know from experience, a lot of young people talk about going into med school despite not having a chance in hell of getting.

    So he’s giving up nothing. My opinion of the guy has sunk yet further.

  37. 37
    Orac

    After reading Lofti’s post as a physician I have one reaction:

    Facepalm.

  38. 38
    John Horstman

    The hyphenated form of “free-market” is an adjective (he correctly applies the adverb “truly” to modify the adjective); he believes in the principles of a truly free-market what?

    And, for the record, there is absolutely no way he believes in a true free market – a true free market doesn’t even have market impositions like property law – theft, deceit, and coercion are all valid means of exchange in a true free market and ownership is always and only determined by possession – or fiat currency (while many people are perfectly willing to use means like theft, deceit, or coercion to make money, they tend to scream bloody murder if these things are done to them, which belies the hypocrisy of the belief – they really want market privilege, not a free market). “Free market” is very nearly a contradiction in terms, as to operate a market will nearly always require certain impositions to simultaneously establish the bounds of and enable that market’s operation (even a swap meet happens in a given place, the barter system relies on shared language, etc.). Seriously, these ‘Libertarians’ need to stop pretending to know anything about economic theory just becasue they read some Ayn Rand books in high school or even just becasue they took classes that study the present operation of an single hybrid market system (what passes for Economics in most USA universities). Confound this Dunning–Kruger effect!

  39. 39
    Alverant

    The free-market is why ACA was necessary in the first place. Doctors get paid by how many patients they see, how many operations they do, etc so the market demands they do as many as possible. Even if they do a less than average job. Even if they aren’t necessary. Too many times doctors have said that an operation has to be done just so they can get more money. That has lead to deaths and people trapped in debt. That is the result of the free-market.

    This guy certainly has principles: money uber alles.

  40. 40
    numerobis

    I wonder if he’s actually going to wall street, or rather is going to become a professional pundit. He’s already been writing for over a year about how he’s in the top 5% of the country.

  41. 41
    Orac

    From Lofti’s letter:

    Since the passage of Obamacare everything has changed. When I started college I never intended to work for the government. I never thought I’d have a government bureaucrat dictate what I was worth to the market, and I certainly never imagined those same bureaucrats (who have absolutely no medical training) telling me how to treat my patients.

    Holy crap is this guy clueless. Obamacare doesn’t tell doctors how to treat patients. More importantly, for someone who brags about having taken a medical legislation class Mr. Lofti is sure ignorant about some very basic facts about medical legislation as it impacts medical economics. For example, he obviously doesn’t know anything about DRGs, how Medicare determines physician reimbursement, and how insurance companies usually bargain with hospitals and physician groups based on Medicare rates. Yes, he’s too late. The government already more or less tells doctors what their services are worth, and private insurers generally fall suit by granting a certain percentage above Medicare rates.

  42. 42
    Randomfactor

    What does it even mean to claim graduating in the top 5% of the whole country?

    “Male” and “white” were almost certainly his best subjects.

  43. 43
    arakasi

    Since a doctor’s reimbursement by the insurance company isn’t changing in the ACA era, is he upset because he won’t be able to negotiate his fees with uninsured individuals? Since he wanted to go into pediatric neurosurgery, was his business plan “So Mr. Jones, I’ll remove your son’s brain tumor for $10,000 cash, and that’s my final offer. Take too long to think about it, and the price jumps to $15,000″

    Seriously, the ACA is going to lead to more demand for medical personnel. Millions of Americans will now be able to afford to go to their primary care physicians. A not insignificant number of these will be children who really need to be treated by a pediatric neurosurgeon so they can survive to adulthood. There are more patients for this asshole to treat, more kids survive – everybody wins

  44. 44
    maddmatt

    I’m a big believer in free market capitalism when it comes to getting the best and cheapest TV that I can. It is very good at getting products and services efficiently to the people who most desire/need and can most afford that product or service.

    But with healthcare that dynamic is all flipped on its head, you are talking about a marketplace where the people who most need a service often can’t afford it and it would seem the more successful a provider you are, the less your marketplace will need your products and services. The free market especially breaks down in the area of mental health.

    When someone is really sick and without insurance lots of these right wing cretins say stuff like “oh they should have not been so lazy and found a better job that provides benefits”. But when some mentally ill guy goes on a mass slaying because he can no longer take the brain wave manipulations from the government, you never hear them say he should have found a better job so he could get the mental health treatment they needed. Nobody has ever gone to a city with a large homeless population (where mental illness is rampant) and said “Wow, what an untapped market there is here for mental health providers!”

  45. 45
    aaronbaker

    we are born of principle

    Evidently, a colloquial expression, previously unknown to me, for: “we are full of shit.”

  46. 46
    Juliana Ewing

    There is at least one actual doctor in the US called Michael Lotfi who is certainly not this guy. It might be interesting to talk to him.

  47. 47
    maddmatt

    THE reason we have Medicare is insurance companies DO NOT WANT to insure old people. If they did, they got the money, the political connections and the lobbyists to make it happen, but there is no money to be made there. The free market would push the Logan’s Run healthcare plan on them if it thought it could get away with it.

    The free market also wouldn’t look to good to him if we had a single payer system and that single payer was Wal~mart. They would do what the have done to pickle, sock, bicycle, etc. manufacturers and tell him that if he wanted access to their market place the Wal~mart bean counters will need to see the books. They will then determine where he is spending too much and then “suggest” ways to reduce costs so they can get his services for $X. He will then be contractually obligated to continue to provide it for $X, even if external forces outside of his control change his ability to provide them for $X. I am not making this up, this is what they do, a Wal~mart supply contract can be a blessing or a curse.

    The free-market can be every bit as brutal as the imagined “imminent” slide into socialism that we are apparently on, you know, which involves providing a marketplace for private insurers to compete against each other. Which I have to say, if Obama is a “socialist”, he is a very bad one.

  48. 48
    Rey Fox

    Sounds like a complete wanker and cog in the right wing noise machine. Probably can’t even stand the sight of blood.

  49. 49
    MJP

    My life has value. Such value cannot be calculated by Washington bureaucrats. I won’t allow it. Only a true free-market can accurately assess the value I am capable of.

    Of course the bureaucrats can’t calculate this value. But how can the market? And why should anyone (or any-invisible-hand) try to calculate the value of anyone else’s life?

  50. 50
    michaelbusch

    ChasCPeterson:

    …and of course the US Air Force Medical Service is renowned for their skills in pediatric neurosurgery.

    A friend of mine had med school paid for by the Air Force. Bob relates that he spent much of his on-duty time during his hitch doing deliveries and pediatrics – that’s apparently what you do when you’re assigned somewhere with a lot of families living on-base. Then he became an ER trauma surgeon*. So maybe pediatric neurosurgery wouldn’t be such an odd career path for someone being supported by the military – if she or he could do general neurosurgery and then specialize. But I am struck by the contradiction between Lofti’s saying:

    I have been on a path to enter the Air Force and continue my education in medicine.

    and his saying:

    I never intended to work for the government.

    Does he actually not understand that members of the military are government employees? Or did I just miss something in skimming through the multiple layers of his misunderstanding?

    *Bob’s very happy about ACA – anything that means fewer people going untreated to the point that they need the ER is a good thing. Arakasi isn’t quite right about ACA leading to more demand for doctors – ideally demand for ER types will go down, while demand for GPs and certain specialities will go up.

  51. 51
    ChasCPeterson

    deliveries and pediatrics – that’s apparently what you do when you’re assigned somewhere with a lot of families living on-base

    ah. Well, that makes sense. I should have thought of that–I live near a large Naval hospital in the driest part of the continent.

  52. 52
    PDX_Greg

    tl;dr

    “I swear I was going to be a doctor, but why would I want to be a doctor in a country that doesn’t effectively deny medical access to 20% of it’s citizens?!”

  53. 53
    shockna

    I certainly never imagined those same bureaucrats (who have absolutely no medical training) telling me how to treat my patients

    But it’s perfectly okay to have a private insurance actuary (with absolutely no medical training) do the same thing!

    Seriously, has anyone bothered to ask him what he thinks the difference is?

  54. 54
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    You will fail because you lack principle.

    I hate to break this to you, Dr. Asshole, but Obama has taken a principled stand. His principle is that government can help those who have been left behind, those who need help, those who are not privileged.

  55. 55
    OptimalCynic

    He should move to Denmark then. It’s got one of the best healthcare systems in the world measured by health outcomes, completely free to everyone in society including the poorest of the poor, and it’s entirely private and market based. Private ambulances, private doctors operating in a free market, private hospitals operating on a for-profit basis, and the government picks up the tab. Costs the state less per person than the British NHS for much better health results.

  56. 56
    Amphiox

    I would join Orac in face palming but I’m afraid of giving myself a concussion.

  57. 57
    vaiyt

    tl;dr
    “If this was a meritocracy, I would totes be swimming in gold! Since I’m not, this proves we’re not a meritocracy. QED.”

  58. 58
    michaelbusch

    OptimalCynic:

    [Denmark's health system is] entirely private and market based. Private ambulances, private doctors operating in a free market, private hospitals operating on a for-profit basis, and the government picks up the tab

    Either you are using definitions of “private” other than what I am used to, or the World Health Organization’s 2012 health system summary for Denmark is lying to me. It informs me that most Danish hospitals are financed and owned at the local governmental level, and that the prices for and conditions of service by private primary-care and specialist physicians are likewise negotiated by the regional governments.

    Total Danish healthcare spending is also very similar to that in the UK in terms of GDP: 9.8% for Denmark, 9.6% for the UK (2010 numbers; 8% public spending, 1.6% private). This is not to say that you are wrong to compare Denmark’s system favorably to the British NHS – I do not have the knowledge to have opinions on that.

    Ref. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/160519/e96442.pdf

  59. 59
    notsont

    @19

    The wingnuts are fond of pointing out that thanks to Reagan, anyone can get “free” care at the ER. Which isn’t true. You get immediate care with no followup and no routine, preventative care. And it isn’t free or efficient for that matter. The costs from unpaid bills are picked up by society at large one way or another.

    The myth that you can get medical care at an ER is exactly that a myth, they are required to stabilize you, and I am sure some hospitals may actually treat you like a human being, but not all of them and certainly not most. Go to a an ER with a cut tendon and nerve damage because of a wound and they will stitch you up, but not repair the damage, leaving you crippled. I have a finger on my right hand that I can’t bend to attest to this, I was told it was a simple procedure to fix it, but no they wouldn’t do it.

    My mother went to the hospital and she thought she had insurance, but there was some kind of mixup that took 3 weeks to straighten out, they left her in a dingy back room with 3 other patients in the same room, in massive pain, once her insurance issues were cleared up it took 3 days for her to be treated and released. This was Hackensack hospital in New Jersey. She started in St Mary’s hospital in Passiac New Jersey, they admitted her, found out her insurance was invalid and transferred her to Hackensack. It was an ulcer and some kind of potassium deficiency caused by it, that literally left her drooling and screaming incoherently and they left her like that because she didn’t have insurance.

    Constantly I hear people say over and over everyone can get treatment at a hospital regardless if they have insurance or money or not and its a lie. Its never not been a lie.

  60. 60
    John Pieret

    Whew! For a second there I thought someone could get into med school without a clue as to what the Hippocratic Oath is all about.

  61. 61
    Ing

    @Pieret

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  62. 62
    kurtdoles

    I posted a comment or two, but the John Birch/Randian/Insane-o-junta was just too much. “Disagree with me? TROOLLLLLLL.” Anybody else for abolishing all anonymous internet comments? I think the jackassery would be significantly reduced, especially if there might be workplace consequences. I know, I know, free speech, yada yada….but as a species that’s living more and more of its life online….what the hell. I still think one should always be held accountable for one’s actions/statements in public.

  63. 63
    robro

    You can expect to find him on Fox News any day now. He could become a regular. He has all the requisite skills: stupid, narrow minded opinions and a willingness to lie to further the cause of free market capitalize (aka, the rich). Perhaps they would even use him as a “doctor” because he already has the lab coat and stethoscope, and that’s probably good enough of them.

  64. 64
    samihawkins

    The sad thing is that it probably would be a great career decision for a real doctor to publically declare they’re abandoning medicine because of Obamacare. They’d be getting paychecks from FOX News way bigger than anything they’d earn helping people.

  65. 65
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    But wait. He saw god and Oprah, and worked at Starbucks. Clearly this man is divine.

  66. 66
    captainahags

    Does he actually not understand that members of the military are government employees? Or did I just miss something in skimming through the multiple layers of his misunderstanding?

    Someone in his comments called him on it, and his response was something like “Serving your country is different than serving the government.” Seems like with all them fancy principles he has, if he wanted to serve the country he’d do some community service or something as an alternative that doesn’t require accepting a salary funded by the taxpayers.

  67. 67
    WhiteHatLurker

    I didn’t read the whole thing either, but I gleaned:

    He doesn’t want to suck at the government teat, so he is going to join the Armed Forces.

  68. 68
    Nemo

    It fills me with disgust and rage to see a scumbag like this say that devotion to the free market is a principle, while wanting sick people to be cared for isn’t.

  69. 69
    Christoph Burschka

    Whew. At least no patient will ever be forced to trust this man with their life.

  70. 70
    Lofty

    Aaah, Mister Lots-fee wants only rich patients who lavishly reward him for his skill in alt med. None of these poor but educated patients.

  71. 71
    playonwords

    My father was a GP (family doctor) for many years and after WWII was one of the many doctors who campaigned for the National Health Service. I suspect if Mr Lotfi had become an MD he would have started spinning in his grave.

  72. 72
    carlie

    “Free market” would mean he pays for his own damned med school education, not the government. And he shouldn’t benefit from any government loans or loans that have had their top interest rate capped by the government, either.

  73. 73
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    captainahags #66

    Someone in his comments called him on it, and his response was something like “Serving your country is different than serving the government.”

    So, in his eyes, healing people in uniform is serving his country, but healing people out of uniform isn’t?

  74. 74
    OptimalCynic

    It informs me that most Danish hospitals are financed and owned at the local governmental level, and that the prices for and conditions of service by private primary-care and specialist physicians are likewise negotiated by the regional governments.

    You’re right, my source was mistaken. What is interesting though is that the private sector is growing quite rapidly, and if a patient is not treated by the state system within one month they’re given a voucher to a private hospital that can treat them straight away. There’s a lot of private clinics on public hospital premises too, which muddies the issue a bit.

    Prices aren’t negotiated, the voucher value is set and a private hospital can choose whether to accept it at face value or not get any government business at all. Naturally they all take the voucher. Regulating conditions of service is an entirely appropriate government function, not one in opposition to market economics.

  75. 75
    Anri

    Hmm.. two quick things:

    First, I’m not really sure that there’s much to be said about someone who loudly proclaims their principled stand… in an essay in which they appear to be dead-set about giving false impressions about themselves.
    Own goal and all that.

    Second, Republicans had better pray, and pray hard, that the ACA is some sort of debacle. Because they have gone out of their way to brand it with the name of a man they hate and loathe. If health care in the US improves noticeably, they have cemented President Obama’s legacy for rather some time to come.
    (Or at least as long as political memory lasts in the US, so maybe not all that long after all.)
    …so long as we are on the topic of own goals.

  76. 76
    fredfile

    He makes it clear what he is really interested in – he just can’t spell it. It’s the “principal” – and then the interest!

    lff

  77. 77
    dianne

    I have decided that I believe in the principles of a truly free-market, and I trust the free-market.

    Sucker! If he had gone on, he would have found how private insurance is trying everything they can to make sure that his patients do not receive care and that if they accidentally do he does not get paid for it. Want to know what the best insurance your patient can have is, both for them and for you? Traditional Medicare. None of this HMO crap, but traditional Medicare. Sure, some of the rules are crazy, but at least it’s one set of rules. And the bureaucrats behind them couldn’t care less about whether they help patients or not, which makes a nice change from active malice.

  78. 78
    dianne

    The GOP is on to their plan B, actively, openly trying to sabotage the ACA by spreading lies. Everyone gets an implanted microchip, anal probed by Reptilian UFO aliens, raped, forced contraception, and on and on.

    Wait, it doesn’t?! (Sadly tosses aside Reptilian UFO alien probe and microchip.) Sorry, I shouldn’t be joking about this, but what the heck do Republicans think that we do anyway? Haven’t they ever been to the doctor?

  79. 79
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    The scary thing is that people buy into the whole magic-of-the-marketplace without understanding the first thing about how markets work.

    This is your brain. This is your brain on Ayn Rand. Any questions?

  80. 80
    Area Man

    Since a doctor’s reimbursement by the insurance company isn’t changing in the ACA era, is he upset because he won’t be able to negotiate his fees with uninsured individuals?

    Actually, Medicare reimbursement rates are being reduced somewhat, which partly is how the ACA is able to pay for its subsidies without major new taxes. This will likely put downward pressure on prices across the board. Doctors and hospital groups agreed to this change because they’ll make up for it with more customers. More people treated at a lower cost per patient — sounds like a win all-around.

    This of course has little or nothing to do with what Lotfi is whining about, since he has no idea what the ACA does and is clearly lying about his pretense of being a doctor. If his problem is that doctors don’t make enough money, that’s hard to swallow since American doctors are still extremely well paid by any standard, and med schools have no difficulty finding high-quality applicants. And if he had already spent years of his life in med school, then switching careers for financial reasons would be rather stupid no matter how much of a pay cut doctors were taking.

  81. 81
    kreativekaos

    Excellent response PZ… You were taking taking the thoughts from my head as I was forming them.
    Good riddance to potential dead-weight and possible patient risk in the health care community. Problem is… I’m sure there are many more out there to take his place, both ideologically and in practice (no pun intended).

  82. 82
    kreativekaos

    (This blog entry should be re-printed, and then posted in colleges/medical schools and in doctors’ offices– That would definitely get the patients attention.)

  83. 83
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Anybody else for abolishing all anonymous internet comments? I think the jackassery would be significantly reduced, especially if there might be workplace consequences.

    Let me guess, you’re a white man, and you’ve never had to hide anything from family or co-workers or bosses about your sexual identity, sexual orientation, or anything else.

    BTW, there are countless examples of jackassery on Facebook, all under people’s real names.

  84. 84
    bushrat

    He’s a “political commentator”, or no-talent hack with no real skills./

    But sir, you repeat yourself!

  85. 85
    Red Neck

    I applaud his decision to leave medicine, then, because I’d rather have doctors who love medicine than doctors who love capitalism and money.

    Look, if it upsets you that much, post your address and I’ll be glad to mail you a hanky. A nice pink one to go with your politics!

  86. 86
    Rutee Katreya

    He should move to Denmark then. It’s got one of the best healthcare systems in the world measured by health outcomes, completely free to everyone in society including the poorest of the poor, and it’s entirely private and market based. Private ambulances, private doctors operating in a free market, private hospitals operating on a for-profit basis, and the government picks up the tab. Costs the state less per person than the British NHS for much better health results.

    My Danish waifu’s immediate response:

    Ahahahaha, who is that idiot? XD
    While there are private hospitals, they’re not only a new development and surrounded by scandals, they also make up a minuscule part of all healthcare
    And aren’t allowed to deal with the vast majority of diseases and surgery
    And family doctors are all government employees

  87. 87
    Rutee Katreya

    Look, if it upsets you that much, post your address and I’ll be glad to mail you a hanky. A nice pink one to go with your politics!

    …The fuck, you think you’re in the 70s or something? Even amongst jackasses who think ‘socialist’ is an insult, ‘Pinko’ to mean ‘socialist’ is ridiculously archaic.

  88. 88
    usingreason

    His degree from Hollywood Upstairs Medical School probably wouldn’t have landed him a very good position anyway.

  89. 89
    coffeehound

    Huh. Been a physician for about 20 years. Never thought about not doing my best to help my patients because I didn’t like insurance companies or the ideology of the ruling party. This makes you what, the Sarah Palin of medicine? As a patient I wouldn’t want to hear this lack of dedication from anyone putting their hands on me so, yeah, good riddance, dipshit.

  90. 90
    coffeehound

    Look, if it upsets you that much, post your address and I’ll be glad to mail you a hanky. A nice pink one to go with your politics!

    Way to address the substance of the phrase you quoted.
    All the mental acuity and perception…..well, of a stump, really.

  91. 91
    Al Dente

    Red Neck @85

    Look, if it upsets you that much, post your address and I’ll be glad to mail you a hanky. A nice pink one to go with your politics!

    Another conservative who doesn’t know anything about socialism except that Fox and Limbaugh tell hir it’s bad.

  92. 92
    coffeehound

    Dianne,

    Sucker! If he had gone on, he would have found how private insurance is trying everything they can to make sure that his patients do not receive care and that if they accidentally do he does not get paid for it.

    This. Since the advent of HMO’s the emphasis on ‘quality’ care is to make doctors and hospitals contractually forced to accept 20, 30% of billable services, which one of the many reasons why the face value of your bill often looks so ridiculously exorbitant. It’s an attempt to recoup a percentage of what they owe, when they don’t actually outright refuse payment(which is also in the contract).
    Anyone who thinks that the collusion of insurance companies with each other over the last 35 years in any way resembles the ‘power of the free market’ is a friggen idiot.

  93. 93
    Kagehi

    Not sure if anyone pointed it out, but even his “free market” claim is bullshit. Exchanges a) offer companies that have the capability, as per the requirements, to participate, to trade their goods “across state lines”, b) under the prior law, companies selling insurance in a state had a sort of “protected status”, by which it was both impossible to compete with them (or maybe just much harder, I an not 100% sure), if your company was *not* in that state, and also, by definition, denied you, if you ran an insurance company, from attempting, in many cases, to acquire “out of state”policy holders.

    So.. rather than “curtail” the market, the new law expands it. Though, I suppose, you could still make the claim that its somehow unfair, since it doesn’t allow “every” insurance company to sell through the exchanges, including unqualified ones, who appear unlikely to be able to provide any services. After all, it also makes total sense for someone in say, Oregon to sell you telephone telegraph services, in New York. How dare anyone suggest that “telegraphs” are somehow useless, or that there is no way someone on the wrong coast can possibly provide support for the services, or even just the service itself! The free market must prevail!

    But, hell, its a right wing advertisement. Actual reality isn’t either mandated, implied, or so much as suggested, when writing such things.

  94. 94
    bortedwards

    Is there a REAL MD in the house?! I need an antiemetic

  95. 95
    Carlfish

    He’s not a real doctor, but he is a real worm.

  96. 96
    carlie

    Carlfish – nice. :)

  97. 97
    Rey Fox

    I applaud his decision to leave medicine

    Look, if it upsets you that much

    Not the sharpest, this one.

  98. 98
    coralline

    He’s not a real doctor, but he is a real worm.

    SO good.

  99. 99
    Steven Jandreau

    <i?I trust the free-market.

    Why?

    Via Atrios, I learn that Larry Summers has pointed out the increasing frequency of panics, large and small:

    The Latin American debt crisis
    The 1987 stock market crash
    The savings and loan debacle
    The Mexican financial crisis
    The Asian financial crisis
    The collapse of LTCM
    The bursting of the dot-com bubble
    And now the financial crisis that began in 2007.
    One crisis every three years.

  100. 100
    Davros

    and this gem under the picture

    —————————————————————
    I’m Hanging Up The White Coat Because Of Obamacare To Pursue My Doctorate In Economics And Head To Wall Street/ Continue My Work In Politics
    —————————————————————–

    not start my work in Politics continue my work

    the Bull Shit count is very High in this Guy

  101. 101
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Mr President, I’m leaving the medical field. I’m hanging up the white coat. However, let me be clear. You have not won.

    He appears to be under the impression that Obama’s goal is to rid the US of doctors. How strange.

  102. 102
    jameswaszak757

    Whatever to Loft, and his words here. I speak to all written Libertarian haters in these comments. First of all, all people laps in their judgement. Tell me you haven’t and I will call you out as a liar.(not that this is an excuse for his statement) But this is not true to libertarian principle. Some of you called it right in the fact that the ACA is but another anti liberty piece of legislation, not the foremost as he describes it.
    Secondly; there is no libertarian country in existince anywhere in the world because there has always been power hungry politicos who are supported by the likes of people such as in this forum. People who feel they “need” to be led.
    Thirdly; our government leaders as supported by liberal and republican views have created all that is these specific issues. The “need” for the ACA is caused by the “needed” regulations and sanctions placed on insurance companies, who’s “need” to exist in the first place was caused by federal regulations on the health care industry and so on and so forth.
    As far as “value” is concearned, he clearly demonstrates greed. Likewise do health care recipiants who contribute to the cost of practice. Anybody ever ask a doctor how much their insurance is just to practice? Most know how much schooling cost, but fail to see the other costs that drive up health care costs. Besides insurance to practice, hospitols and clinics they work must be insured, regulations and sanctions determine how a practice must operate and what facilities must have to do so. All these and more made my sons seven stiches and two xrays cost $3,440. Really! Instead of fixing an institution which generated and further generates these high costs, why not demolish it and try for better?

  103. 103
    chigau (違う)

    And that’s what you get for not closing comments on moribund threads.

  104. 104
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    First of all, …

    …this is not true to libertarian principle.

    Sigh. Writing that one refuses to participate in an industry that one finds morally abhorrent is not true to libertarian principle?

    Us mocking Lofti for what he believes is morally abhorrent?

    What, precisely, is not true to morally abhorrent. Because you could be specific about the issues and the evidence supporting your side without using vague statements with unspecific referents that are, by their nature, unassessable.

    But then, that would not be true to libertarian principle.

    Secondly;

    Semi-colons: they aren’t colons, and they aren’t commas; semi-colons have their own rules.

    Thirdly;

    Have you read anything much at all around here? We aren’t led much by anyone, least of all establishment politicians. Moreover, saying “needed” regulations are the problem immediately before calling out the price gouging of 7 stitches and two x-rays paints you as one of the more endearing self-blinkered participants in the studies of Dunning & Krueger.

    As far as “value” is concerned…

    There is none in your post, not even the pseudo-intelligible “”value”” decry.

  105. 105
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ chigau

    that’s what you get

    It looks vaguely like English, yet makes no sense. I tried reading jameswaszak757‘s comment, but failed in the attempt. It is like it’s been disemvowelled, and then re-emvowelled randomly.

  106. 106
    chigau (違う)

    OK
    Now I’m thinking that English as a Second Language is actually the problem.

  107. 107
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ chigau

    That and lacking a clear argument.

    (He also seems incapable of differentiating between separate concepts such as “Socialism” and “Authoritarianism”. Such conflation is likely the root of the problem.)

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