March 25, 2010

From a Doctor Who Will Not Comply


"An M.D. in family practice passed along this letter she sent to her patients after Obamacare became law. She relates that, so far, "100% of those who have contacted me about it have supported me and accepted the new conditions."

March 23, 2010

My Dear Patient,

As you must know, Congress has just passed extensive legislation governing health care delivery and insurance systems. Whether you agree with what it does or not, we are all now subject to this law and its sweeping changes.

I have always conducted my medical practice with my patient’s best interests as my first priority. Although not legally obliged to do so, I have routinely provided you with a receipt that has all the codes necessary to bill your own health insurance company for any reimbursement to which you are entitled. Until now, that insurance company was a free enterprise despite the fact that it was heavily regulated by state and federal laws. Now the situation is quite different. Through the new law’s mandates, regulatory powers and reform, health insurance is and will be largely a government activity which will have an ever larger jurisdiction over how doctors practice, make clinical judgments and are paid.

The new law provides for about 150 new government agencies, many of which are designed to be ‘oversight’ bureaucracies which will have the right to decide what medical care is legal to provide through insurance. Among other things, they will have the right to review my medical care of you and read your medical record. Now, as soon as you submit our economic transaction to your insurance company for reimbursement, you have involved me in these regulations and put me in the jurisdiction of government for my activities, decisions and behavior as your doctor.

No one can have two masters. Either I can serve you as my patient or I can serve the government. Either I can continue to make your welfare and health my only concern, including the protection of your privacy and medical records, or I can abide by ever-increasing amounts of government regulations and dictates to my decisions. I can’t do both. I choose to continue to follow my conscience and practice medicine to serve you.

For this reason, I am responding to the situation created by this new law by exercising my right not to participate in any health insurance program. I will still provide you with the same medical services that I always have, but the interaction will be exclusively and privately between you and me. This means that I will provide you only with a receipt for the services you have paid for, but without the additional information that is required to submit your receipt for reimbursement to your health insurance company. That is the only way I can make sure there will be no conflict between following the law and serving you. Because the law is now in effect, so must these changes be to my practice.


Linda Johnston, MD


  1. You should tell the whole story about Linda Johnston ... she got her MD, and then crossed over into the pseudoscience fantasy land of homeopathy. From her website, there is no indication that she has a practice as a family physician - she identifies herself as a 'classical homeopathist' and 'teacher, lecturer, author.' No mention of an actual practice as a doctor.

    Her list of recent continuing education courses is 100% homeopathy and new age stuff. She notes that she is currently a member in good standing of the homeopathy associations, but from what she lists, her involvement with real medical groups and ongoing education in real medicine seems to have stopped about 20 years ago. I doubt that her clients get much from insurance to start with - most policies will not pay for the "Classic Homeopathy" she says she provides ... a few private policies cover this, and many mainstream policies offer a negotiated discount but no reimbursement. So the idea that she is really doing something dramatic is hard to believe. Scratch that, I think she is being dramatic... no evidence she really is changing much, but she apparently likes to make noise and get attention.

    If people want to get into crystal healing and homeopathy and psychic energy repair, I don't really care. But the mutterings of such nutters is not very convincing, even when they have some sort of credential.

    Here's her website - y'all can be the judge of her credibility:

  2. Anon,

    Don't know what you are saying other than trying to discredit this person's political stance using the way she has decided to practice medicine. (Lame!) I figured you moon-bat left-tards would have respect for alternative medicines, but once again y'all are all tactic and no substance.

  3. No, my respect for homeopathy is zero. It is not medicine - it is intellectual fraud that likes to portray itself as medicine. It's proponents make preposterous claims that are in conflict with the basic laws of science.

    More generally, I don't feel compelled to to accept or reject something just because it carries a label of 'alternative' ... some alternative therapies are being validated by objective science, and others have been show to be based on delusional thinking.

    Do I think that many herbs contain biologically active molecules, and that these might be used to treat disease? Yes, mainstream medicine is continually drawing from the 'alternative' traditions of herbalism and producing 'new' medicines from plant ingredients. So the idea of herbalism for some things is reasonable. Do I think that yoga is a form of exercise that can benefit some conditions better than traditional aerobic or weight training? Yes, and there is good scientific evidence to support that view. Are some types of meditation useful for dealing with stress and its negative effects on the body? Yes, absolutely. Those are types of alternative medicines that might be valuable in some circumstances, and only a ideological fool would reject it all on an a priori basis.

    But the belief in homeopathic principles is like the belief in other scams like iridology, ear candling, faith healing, and 'oxygenated' water. When someone emphatically believes in those, or in leprechauns, or the space alien cabal that is controlling our planet... we really should question their sanity.

    For mild, self-limiting medical conditions, I suppose homeopathic remedies are as good as any other placebo. But we are talking about a 'doctor' who specializes in prescribing placebos for every patient she sees, and who spins elaborate yarns about the nature of various placebos... the kindest thing we can say is that she has a loose grip on reality. Such a 'doctor' deserves zero respect.

  4. Anon,
    Once again you miss the point, and dare I say on purpose, thereby avoiding the real subject that she is now in conflict because of the new legislation, between representing the government or her patients, and subsequently deciding to represent her patients.
    (I hope you have as much scientific zeal and integrity when you look at global warming, or do you just go along with the "Consensus"?)

  5. >> Once again you miss the point, and dare I say on purpose,

    No. The letter and its re-publication are attempts to "prove" the idea that doctors will start withdrawing entirely from dealing with insurance. I do not see the letter as credible evidence.

    I do not believe that she is a doctor in the ordinary sense of the word. I am not convinced that her 'practice' is anything like the typical doctor's practice. I do not believe that her motivation is anything like the typical doctor's motivation.

    Someone who sells $20 bottles of placebo to people who are willing and able to pay doesn't have to deal with the economic issues of real medicine. Such quacks are in a perfect position to loudly 'withdraw' from having to deal with insurance.

    >> she is now in conflict because of the new legislation, between representing the government or her patients, and subsequently deciding to represent her patients.

    The 'two-masters' metaphor is poppycock. Most real doctors have long had to juggle the needs of their patients with the dictates of insurance companies.

    If doctors don't consider the policies of the insurance companies, they will get a royal earful when their patients try to fill a prescription and the pharmacy says it isn't covered and costs $230, or it will cost $50 or $100 because that med is not on the preferred list.

    If one is fact-finding (instead of seeking to reinforce political hyperbole), one might go to a credible source, like the American Medical Association.

    The AMA doesn't like everything in the bill, but they present what most would consider a fair and rational view that represents a large number of doctors. Does the AMA suggest that the sky is falling, that many doctors will go Galt, and medicine will collapse? No. In fact, they point out that the reforms will lead to streamlined insurance reporting procedures that will make things easier for most doctors... real doctors will actually spend less on administrative overhead thanks to the bill.

    >> I hope you have as much scientific zeal and integrity when you look at global warming

    First, the topic was homeopathy. I have written a great deal about homeopathy on some of the health boards that I frequent, and I did not mince words there. My position is clear and consistent: homeopathy is quackery, and I don't trust quacks. I see no reason to assume that a quack will respond to health care reform the same way that real doctors do.

    I was relatively late to sign on to the idea of global warming (around 2004), but I believe that the convergence of evidence is that warming that is partly attributed to human induced changes to levels of CO2, methane, cfcs, and other gases that clearly increase the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere.