Cassell’s crass confusion

CASSELL’S CRASS CONFUSION…. Dr. Jack Cassell, an Orlando-area urologist and part-time Republican crank, probably couldn’t have imagined what he was getting himself into.

This week, Cassell’s medical office posted a sign for patients and their families: “If you voted for Obama…seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.”

The ethically-challenged physician told the Orlando Sentinel he wouldn’t deny care to patients who support the president, but Casell wants those patients to feel unwelcome and seek medical treatment from doctors who don’t care how they voted.

Since the Sentinel‘s piece was published on Friday morning, news of the doctor who puts his partisanship ahead of his patients spread very quickly. Over the last 48 hours, I’ve seen reports on Cassell’s bizarre antics on CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, the LA Times, and elsewhere. Even in hyper-partisan times, medical professionals aren’t supposed to cross lines of professionalism like this, and the story seems to have struck a chord.

But perhaps the most important coverage was an interview between Cassell and Alan Colmes on the radio Friday night. The host tried to get a better sense of why, exactly, Cassell hates the Affordable Care Act so much. The urologist specifically argued that officials, in light of the new law, are “cutting all supportive care, like nursing homes, ambulance services.”

Colmes: What do you mean they’re cutting nursing homes?

Cassell: They’re cutting nursing home reimbursements.

Colmes: Isn’t what they’re cutting under the Medicare plan what was really double dipping; they were getting credits and they were getting to deduct them at the same time.

Cassell: Well you know, I can’t tell you exactly what the deal is. [emphasis added]

Colmes: If you can’t tell us exactly what the deal is, why are you opposing it and fighting against it?

What a good question. Cassell struggled to explain himself, saying he’d seen some things “online,” and adding that the information he needs to understand the law “should be available to me.”

Of course, the information is available to him, and has been for months. Cassell chose not to do his homework before driving patients away — patients who, it turns out, may know a lot more than he does about the law he claims to hate.

This is painfully common — some of the loudest, angriest critics of the Affordable Care Act are also some of the least informed, most confused, embarrassingly ignorant observers anywhere. In this case, Cassell has become a national joke because he’s repulsed by a health care reform plan that he fully admits he doesn’t understand.

It’d be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

Post Script: For the record, Cassell’s rhetoric about “cutting nursing homes” notwithstanding, the National Association of Home Care and Hospice praised the Democratic plan.