WHAT A BEAUTIFUL...

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL GLASS HOUSE YOU HAVE! To follow up on Matt's post about Ramesh Ponnuru's complaints that we, among others, won't review a book that we haven't been sent review copies for, I just did a search on a book I quite like: The Medical Malpractice Myth, by Tom Baker. Baker is a law professor at the University of Connecticut and one of the nation's foremost authorities on insurance issues. His book calmly and methodically deconstructs the hysteria over malpractice, showing, quite convincingly, that the premiums are related to the boom/bust cycle of the insurance industry, that the lawsuits generally have merit, and that malpractice itself is exponentially more prevalent than malpractice lawsuits. It does not sell itself on the strength of Ann Coulter or Ward Churchill's blurb, and its title does not accuse one of America's two major parties of being pro-death. It is, in short, a more serious, thoughtful book by a more credentialed author, one who not only sent out review copies, but gave a presentation at the American Enterprise Institute, the nation's premier conservative think tank.

And yet not a single conservative outlet has considered his argument. This even though tort reform is a continual obsession of rightwing politicians, and indeed their primary response to rising health costs. This even though medical malpractice kills upwards of 100,000 Americans every year, rendering it deadlier than auto and workplace accidents combined. Of course, I'm not accusing The National Review of any conspiracy of silence, or unwillingness to subject their policy ideas to analysis. I'm just admiring their big, beautiful, glass house.

--Ezra Klein

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