• An Evil Partnership

      NYTimesAs a young consumer reporter, I got my best tips from personal injury lawyers. These lawyers are an "investigative" reporter's perfect partner. They offer us victims with the saddest story, and the research that seems to show that some cruel company has profited by injuring people. All we reporters have to do is make some phone calls to confirm it.

      I've now woken up to the fact that this is an evil partnership -- evil because the trial lawyers' simplistic narrative attacks the entrepreneurship that makes our lives better. For every victim the lawyers help, they injure thousands by sucking money and creative energy away from innovation.

      I bring this up now because I just read the front page of today's New York Times. The headline complains that "Long-Term Care Hospitals Face Little Scrutiny."

      This is typical Times-speak: businesses, except ours, need more scrutiny from government. Despite our stories about government's incompetence, Big Government must review every business action. Then business will give consumers better treatment.

      I'm used to such Times nonsense , but today’s story also includes this:

      Lawsuits, state inspection reports and statistics deep in federal reports paint a troubling picture of the care offered at some Select hospitals, and at long-term care hospitals in general.

      My alarm bells went off. A very long story based on “lawsuits” and “statistics deep in federal reports” suggest the evil lawyer partnership. I bet a personal injury lawyer handed those “statistics deep in federal reports” to the reporter.

      Then comes the line:

      Long-term care hospitals also had a higher incidence of bedsores and infections than regular hospitals...

      Hmmm. Isn’t it natural that patients in long-term care facilities would spend longer terms in bed, and therefore be more susceptible to bedsores? Looks like a trial lawyer smear to me.

      But maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe these hospitals are genuinely bad. Maybe the Times got the story from altruistic Medicare officials. What do you think?

      I think you should be wary when a story begins with an anecdote about a dying patient, and the villains are described as “for-profit companies.” It sounds like another partnership between the Times’ antipathy to business and the trial lawyers.

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