Looking Through Rand Paul's Eye Doctor Certification…


The future of the former Republic may turn on such questions!

Our story thus far: The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Dr. Rand Paul, upstart GOP candidate for the Senate, hasn't been certified by the only board that matters for eye doctors for five long years:

Rand Paul says he is a "board-certified" ophthalmologist—even though the national clearinghouse for such certifications says he hasn't been for the past five years.

Rand Paul, who practices in Bowling Green, says he is certified by the National Board of Ophthalmology, a group that he incorporated in 1999 and that he heads.

This leads to much hooing and hawing by folks who already dislike Rand Paul (Yellow Dog Democrats mostly, but also some GOPpers who are mad at the Tea Party and Palin-approved son of former Libertarian presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas). The momentary flap isn't helped by Paul's insistence that he would talk about the topic "never….What does this have to do with our election?"

Well, that's a promise that Paul has (wisely) broken. Here's his statement, as circulated by former Reasoner and Human Dance Machine David Weigel of the Wash Post:

I took the American Board of Ophthalmology (the largest governing body in ophthalmology) boards in 1995, passed them on my first attempt (as well as three times during residency), and was therefore board-certified under this organization for a decade.

In 1997, I, along with 200 other young ophthalmologists formed the National Board of Ophthalmology to protest the American Board of Ophthalmology's decision to grandfather in the older ophthalmologists and not require them to recertify.

I thought this was hypocritical and unjust for the older ophthalmologists to exempt themselves from the recertification exam.

In forming NBO, the younger ophthalmologists agreed to require recertification for all ophthalmologists….

ABO argues that they are the legitamate organization because they are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). They fail to explain that ABO helped found ABMS and gets to vote on who is approved by ABMS. One can imagine why ABMS and ABO would not want to approve a competitor.

Whole response here.

As could be gleaned from the whole phony flap over whether Candidate Paul was an advocate of resegregated lunch counters, it doesn't take a rocket scientist (even one employed by NASA) to recognize that Paul is going to have to run a very strong campaign to keep out of such potholes on a regular basis. His father is a flashpoint within politics, he ran against his own party bosses in Kentucky, he's libertarian enough that he threatens the spend-spend-spend status quo, and he's been less than smooth as silk on the hustings so far. He's even gone so far as to alienate goddamn libertarians by distancing himself from the term.

Probably more than most pols in his situation, he'll have a tough race because there's enough about him to pique lots of folks' ire. Not Murder on the Orient Express level ire, but more than average. Which is not a bad thing. As the late founder of Wendy's, Dave Thomas, once said, "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me hungry."

And without further ado, a great song about life, love, and post-mortem opthamology:

Hat tip: It's always Vanneman!

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  1. No worries. I have a whole bag of this stuff, enough to last well into November and beyond. I’m saving the cannibal story for Independence Day.

    1. Donate for the June 23rd “money blast”. Pledge here for a reminder email or just donate on the campaign website on June 23rd: http://www.randpaul2010.com

      A large one day haul generates tons of free positive media in addition to the surge of funds. The Associated Press even put out a piece talking about it @http://www.kentucky.com/2010/06/11/1302647/paul-plans-1st-online-moneybomb.html

      Lots of small donors (I’m donating no more than $50) is how Rand Paul has been pulling it off. I suspect DC will help in the general but they’re unreliable

      1. The money bomb is June 28th, not June 23rd. But definitely, donate! If we want him independent, best to make sure he doesn’t have to depend on the machine as his primary source of funding!

      2. Rand Paul is a fucking douche:

        Rand Paul ends his ban on donations / support from senators who backed TARP.


        1. All my money is going to the legalize weed thing in CA

  2. WTF? Paul’s no less “smooth” than any other politician. They’re vapid dipshits, as a class.

    Establishment candidates’ “uh, you know” response-forming moments are elided by reporters?who, more than anyone, adore the establishment as such?and their impolitic past or improvised stances are memory-holed in favor of today’s expedient and polled poses, while Paul, like any threat to the Man, however minor or marginal, gets the bare-bulb interrogation treatment on every subject.

    Why play along, if that’s not your job? At least Weigel’s paid to be a ludicrous stooge.

    1. Paul is more smooth than Mr “assault a random kid yelling questions at you” congressman.

  3. Hat tip: It’s always Vanneman herpes!

    1. It’s not lupus.

      1. It’s not a tumor.

      2. Tourette’s, then?

    2. Shouldn’t he be at home working on his next Madeline in London book?

  4. I have to agree. Whatever Paul’s failings, none of this would be happening if he weren’t viewed as a serious threat by the left and their allies in the media. Hell, it’s not just the left that doesn’t like the limited government message, so he’s going to get it from two sides.

    Make that three sides–libertarians are annoyed with him, too.

    1. Enough with the conspiracy theories already. He’s running for the Senate, of course he’s going to be scrutinized – and the more he’s scrutinized, the more of a nut he’s turning out to be.

  5. Republicans hate him, democrats hate him, Libertarians hate him, who doesn’t hate him?

    1. I don’t.

    2. I like him a little more given the fact everyone hates him.

      1. It’s a definite plus.

        I’m starting to like Al Greene, too.

        1. That guy needs to make an album.

          1. Funny how none of his voters can be reached for comment. It’s almost as if they’re embarrassed about voting for someone they knew nothing about, based upon their assumption that he was the same race as they were, and therefore the best candidate.

            1. You talking about Paul or Greene?

    3. I don’t.

    4. I don’t.

      I’m donating on the June 28th money bomb, too.

  6. If he becomes a nominee for Surgeon General this might become a serious matter. Until then ….

  7. Rand Paul, who practices in Bowling Green, says he is certified by the National Board of Ophthalmology, a group that he incorporated in 1999 and that he heads.

    This is EXACTLY THE SAME as a guy who, with no training or understanding, hangs out a shingle and commences intracranial microsurgery.

    I’m sure there were interviews with a representative sample of the hundreds of patients blinded by Dr Paul.

    1. I bet he’s not even American.

    2. That’s the thing that’s galling. If you read the statement this piece linked..older ophthalmologists are even technically less current than he is. If you haven’t gotten near an AMO re-certification process since 1992 then you are still “AMO certified” b/c you were grand fathered in. Since it only started in ’92 I’d imagine that’s still a lot of ophthalmologists out there.

      In fact if the media wants to find a non-scandal then they could point out that AMO is de facto hiding older doctors behind their certification.

      That would be if they were genuinely concerned with continuing training but that isn’t their agenda though… it’s to smear Rand Paul in favor of his “progressive” opponent who squeaked by in a primary against a conservative Democrat and got the liberal editorial boards’ endorsements.

  8. I find it very unlibertarian to form a certification board.

    1. Why?

      1. Because certification boards are rackets that serve as a barrier to entry for competition.

        1. Not if they’re completely voluntary.

          Certification boards are a useful way of informing potential patients that the doctor they might be considering consulting has recognized skills and knowledge, nothing more.

          I think you have board certification confused with state licensure.

          1. “I think you have board certification confused with state licensure.”

            A very important distinction.

          2. Voluntary certification boards are much less onerous than licencing. But they are still businesses colluding together to block competition.

            1. Without the imprimatur of government, I don’t see why that has to be. Competing certification organizations are always possible in Libertopia.

              1. This whole flap is about competing certification organizations, each saying they are better qualified to screen out incompetent doctors, with people free to choose which organization to believe is better at that screening.

                Seems libertarian to me.

                1. Yes, it is. The problem is the newspaper article’s assertion that the ABO is “the national clearinghouse for board certifications,” which makes it sound like ABO has special status.

            2. Freedom of assembly, my man… If me and a few of my buddies are way more qualified than a bunch of quacks and we want to form an organization to show customers (and potential customers) that we’re more qualified, that’s not collusion. That’s smart business sense.

              1. Ok, ok. I give up. It is not unlibertarian to form a certification board. That doesn’t mean I have to like them, though.

                1. There’s nothing involuntary or coercive about a people forming a certification board of their own free will.

                  That is totally different than being required to get permission from the government in the form of a professional license before being allowed to engage in voluntary economic activity, under penalty of being locked in a cage with murderers and rapists.

                2. That doesn’t mean I have to like them, though.

                  You hate Underwriters Laboratory too, dont you?

                  1. Knowing the unnecessary cost UL specs add to many products that don’t actually need that kind of overkill, maybe just a little.

                    1. Knowing the unnecessary cost UL specs add to many products that don’t actually need that kind of overkill, maybe just a little.

                      No turkey fryer has been approved by UL and yet I own one. “Unnecessary costs”? Apparently the manufacturers thought they were necessary. They value the UL seal over a cheaper cost.

                3. You’re free to seek out doctors incapable of (or who “choose not to”) getting board certified by anybody.

                  Good luck with that.

                  1. I just picked up a pair of reading glasses at Walmart. I read the eye chart and chose 175s. Perhaps those kiosks need to have some organization’s seal of approval?

                    1. I agree, no seal of approval is needed for buying blurry reading glasses that only approximate clear vision.

                      If you’re going for low quality from the get-go, no need for quality certification.

                      Now, if you want to have corrected 20/20 vision, then perhaps provider quality does matter.

              2. Yup. The most egregious instances of abuse and incompetence arise when governments forcibly monopolize the certification and grading process. They short-circuit the importance that reputation plays in any profession, and lend an often undeserved air of respect to all the individuals who have passed a quite possibly arbitrary exam.

                1. EXACTLY!

                  Licensure tends to ensure incompetency.

        2. As Isaac said, Certification Boards are very welcome in libertopia. They can provide a great service to consumers.

          1. Or as Rand Paul illustrates, a great disservice since it appears one can certify themselves.

            1. Microwave popcorn.

              Put bag in microwave. Microwave until done, ignoring trolls throughout the heating process.


        3. I guess you oppose the circle K on kosher foods too.

          (Yes, I know there are other kosher certs, that is the only one I know though)

          1. What can it hurt? It’s chicken soup!

  9. Props for The Adverts.

  10. Why do you post things about this guy? He’s a fucking republican.

  11. I actually thought Rand Paul’s answer to this was refreshingly defensible. He actually had a damn good point about board certification of ophthamologists!

    1. I completely agree. Oh, and it’s “ophthaLmologists” (it took me six months of dealing with an ophthalmologist through work to finally learn to spell it right).

      1. I prefer “eye-doctor” because I don’t care about all of their fancy schooling, so long as I can see when I leave the office. Lasers are a big plus though.

  12. I am wetting my pants over him and 200 relatively young ophthalmologists forming their own private certification group. The vested interests and I plan to lobby Kentucky politicians to repeal state certification and recognition of NBO ophthalmologists and to completely outlaw our competition immediately!

  13. Big deal. Non-story. Nothin’ to see here.

    1. Thanks to un-board certified optholomogists amirite?!

  14. I find it very unlibertarian to form a certification board.

    Only if they are government-enforced monopolies.

  15. I think it’s great that Rand Paul took a stand and formed the National Board of Ophthalmology. However, when we refer to “Board Certified” in ophthalmology, we are clearly referring to the American Board, whatever its failings. Of course, if Paul says he isn’t certified, that’s like throwing his own organization under the bus.

    1. However, when we refer to “Board Certified” in ophthalmology

      Who is this we? And that is bullshit, as he has proved. There are two boards. If you are certified by either you are “board certified”.

      1. well, Rand Paul has an excuse to say otherwise, but I think there is a point to be made that a board with 20,000 members has a greater claim to legitimacy than one with 200 members. And BTW I think that is true even though I recognize there are legitimate reasons for starting a new one, and that the quality of the doctors is likely as good or better at Paul’s outfit (they obviously care enough about standards to take actions, moreso than the doctors who just get licensed, check the box, and move on with life.

        1. One board, as a matter of logic, cannot be said to have a greater claim of legitimacy than another board, solely upon the basis that it has more members.

    2. At the very least, according to the article, he was ABO certified and presumably left in good standing.

  16. Paul isn’t a real eye doctor, Joe wasn’t a real plumber, Obama isn’t a real leader. I’ve gotten used to these things.

    1. Flawless logic.

    2. I’m not a real commenter.

      1. There’s no such word. It’s spelled “commentator.”

        1. You’re not a real puncuation mark.

          1. The ampersand is the greatest of all punctuations. Commas, periods, semi-colons; they’ve got nothing on ampersands. Shift + 7 and you’re done; no need to type ‘and’. My firstborn will have an ampersand as his/her middle name. Instead of Ben or Jerry, it’s both. see?

        2. Talk to me when you’re promoted to a full word.

          1. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

        3. I believe the most commontater is the Russet.

  17. As a med student with firsthand experience of the shenanigans of groups like the AMA. I would probably join Paul’s certification board defore joining one of the old “certification baords” which is probably little more than a power lobby.

    1. By the time you’re ready to join, I’ll already have outlawed the fringe boards.

      1. One has to look at what makes a board “fringe.” If it is the demand for medical excellence, such as making all doctors (even senior ones) pass examination boards, then I don’t see a downside to fringeness.

    2. I’m surprised you even have an option. State bars are complete bullshit (they can arbitrarily keep you from practicing while leaving you holding $200k of debt) but if you’re not admitted you can’t practice.

    3. I interviewed for an IT job at the AMA 20 years ago because my employer at the time was starting to lose market share and my rate of pay was becoming very below average. Without a doubt I preferred my low-paying job to having to work with the certifiable lunatics that I interviewed with at AMA. I couldn’t wait to bolt that interview.

      Several days later, the absolute shittiest programmer I’ve ever worked with in my life gives his two-week notice – he took a job with the AMA.

  18. I would probably join Paul’s certification board defore joining one of the old “certification baords” which is probably little more than a power lobby.


    1. touche. There is a lot that is done “in the interest of patients” that also seems to screw them (along with pharmacists, PAs and NPs) while letting the doctors hang out good and dandy.

  19. This is pretty funny…Rand Paul basically has been caught attempting to defraud people by claiming he was board certified when he really was not.

    Of course, in Libertopia is there is no such thing as fraud.

    1. And of course, in Dan T.opia there’s no such thing as fraud if you have “(D-[insert state here])” after your name.

    2. Don’t be his porn.

    3. Moments later, Janet returned to the living room, this time holding the limp, lifeless body of Precious, Hallie’s pet cat. Its gray fur was matted and had fallen out in patches, and its open eyes, normally yellow, were the color of blood. It appeared to have been dead for several days, even though Terri had shooed it off the couch less than an hour ago.

      1. I get it, a dead cat!

        1. Not dead, free!

          I laughed for about 5 minutes the first time I saw this.

          Yes, I need help.

  20. Oh, I see. He’s not “board certified” because he formed a new board with more stringent requirements…. Do his patients know? There ought to be a law!

    1. All his patients are deceased, obviously. Too much freedom killed them.

  21. Get your head out of your ass, Dan.

  22. Bored with Board-gate already.

  23. Hello Everybody!

  24. It’s a campaign. Mud will be flung. If the worst thing they can concoct about Paul are easily disproved accusations that he is claiming to be board certified when he allegedly is not, he’ll be fine.

  25. I think it is time we recognize that this article references Weigel and we should now thread jack it and spend the rest of the day talking about the use of the word “hug”

  26. “Fine! I’ll just create my OWN certification board with blackjack… and hookers! In fact, forget the cerification board!”

  27. You gotta love all the republicans in Kentucky who voted for Rand Paul and brought him to national exposure, priceless. Lets face it they will try to vote this liar in but we can only wait and see if there is other skeltons in hs closet, oh yeah he is not a racist, I repeat, he is not a racist. Great thing is we are talking about Kentucky, so being a racist may be a positive, we will see.

  28. You gotta love all the conservatives in Kentucky who voted for Rand Paul and brought him to national exposure, priceless. Lets face it they will try to vote this liar in but we can only wait and see if there is other skeltons in hs closet, oh yeah he is not a racist, I repeat, he is not a racist. Great thing is we are talking about Kentucky, so being a racist may be a positive, we will see.

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