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November 14, 2005


Could it be that they're attacking Priest as a triangulating attack against the WaPo for other more direct attacks at BushCO? Along those lines, look at this desperate attempt to disprove the WaPo's asterick story.

You go after Priest, because it gives you cover on the Plame story. But they can't really expect to make much headway with Priest. She's a really solid reporter and very amenable to listening favorably to the Bush line (as opposed to Pincus, who starts out skeptical).

I recommend an article in the New Yorker (edition marked 11/14) about medical malpractice insurance which doesn't seem to be on-line but an interview with the author about it is here, and if you get the magazine look up the real piece.

The author is a doctor who follows in the article a surgeon-turned-malpractice lawyer, who now sues other doctors on behalf of patients. He also gives a nice thoughtful consideration to the malpractice system in the U.S.

The key points for me were, (1) the current litigation-based system is not fair because many deserving patients get nothing and a few patients get enormous windfalls, (2) the current litagation-based system is also unwise because it leads to secrecy between doctor & patient and general unwillingness of doctors to explore, discuss, understand, and share their mistakes among peers, (3) the vaccine industry has a good mechanism for dealing with rare mishaps, whereby a fee is added to the cost of each vaccine which goes into a sort of minimal-questions-asked fund to compensate those who suffer from rare vaccine problems without worrying about whether there was negligence involved, but that this system would not scale well to cover all medical malpractice, and (4) that countries like New Zealand and Sweden have adapted this idea to a workable model of malpractice coverage that promotes the open sharing of information about mistakes or problems and compensates those who suffer in an automated way without going through the courts and without having to worry about whether the problem was a rare unavoidable side effect or the result of negligence (they can still sue if they want to, but very few do).

I can't remember the details of the New Zealand program now, but if anyone's interested I will look at the article again at home and summarize. The article (and, from the looks of it, the interview I linked above) are good primers for those interested in health care and litigation reform in the U.S.

thanks, 'pockets. Will look it up.

'wheel, i expect any efforts along those lines to fail... Priest is solid. But it's a pattern with them. They have to do it... what else do they have?

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