Et Tu New York Times?

NYT Headline this morning: “Health Law Does Little to Curb Unnecessary Care.”

May I offer an eloquent and erudite response to this revelation?


A key driver of unnecessary medical tests, drugs, and care is fear of being sued. And the likelihood of abusive class action suits are built into the high price of every non-generic drug that manages to make it through the FDA approval process.

That’s why the simplest and most effective cost-lowering “health care reform” which could have been undertaken would have been to curb lawsuit/tort abuse. And yet such a reform was never . . . oh, no not ever . . . even for a moment, considered by the folks running the show in Washington.

(It was, however, a centerpiece of every Republican alternative proposal put forth and ignored.)

This is because the Trial Lawyers Association’s hold on the Democratic Party is even more iron-clad than that of the big unions. And that’s saying something.

Think about it. You’re a physician and your patient walks in and says, “I was reading on the internet about {insert name of rare, exotic disease here}. Do you think I should have a {insert name of expensive test here} test?”

Unless you’re an idiot–and idiots don’t tend to make it through med school–you’re going to say. “Why yes. Yes I do. Let’s get that test ordered!”

You will say that not because it will make you more money. It probably will not. Or because it’s remotely prudent or necessary.

You will say it because you know it will “do no harm” thus complying with the Hippocratic Oath; and because you know your city is filled with little wannabe John Edwards’s with big advertising budgets who are hoping to find some tiny opening to sue your hindquarters.

You also know that, for a huge percentage of your fellow citizens, being handed a perceived rationale for suing someone has become the equivalent of winning the lottery.

Thus, my surprise at seeing the New York Times‘ headline this morning. But, alas, The Times is still The Times.

Read the article and look for the word “malpractice.” You’ll have to hang with it until the 29th paragraph before the word makes a brief appearance.

That’s journalistic malpractice. I’m calling a lawyer.