THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CRISIS….Public Citizen, a consumer group founded by Ralph Nader, helpfully takes a look at the latest statistics on medical malpractice for 2002 compared to 2001. The highlights:

  • Total number of payouts (both judgments and settlements): down 8.2%.

  • Total dollar amount of payouts: down 6.9%.
    When adjusted for inflation: down 11.2%.

  • Average payout: up 1.4%.
    When adjusted for inflation: down 3.3%

  • Number of payouts over $1 million: down 11.5%

It’s kinda hard to see the crisis, isn’t it? And harder still to see the case for a massive intervention in the malpractice insurance market from the current gang of free market fundamentalists running the country.

Then again, maybe the Bush administration isn’t really the small-government-red-tape-cutting-free-market enthusiasts they pretend to be….