13 March 2011


While hardly up to the measure of Augustine's Retractiones, I must retract at least the major part of what I wrote a few days ago about the lack of correlation between the health care legislation in Massachusetts ("Romney-care") and bankruptcy. Careful readers might recall  my link to the L.A. Times which concluded that there was no correlation. In other words, Romney-care hadn't helped.

Now someone, Megan McArdle at The Atlantic, has looked at the numbers behind the conclusion. Unfortunately, there was more smoke than substance. The research used an absurd definition of "medical bankruptcy" and the 2007 baseline study had looked at a whopping (not) 44 bankruptcy case.

Any conclusions--either way--about the impact Massachusetts's health care legislation on the rate of bankruptcy filings is simply unknown. And perhaps unknowable. The kind of information needed to draw any valid conclusions may not be available from the financial information filed in bankruptcy cases.

What part do I not retract? The suggestion that the single-payer bias of the author of this discredited study might have influenced its result.

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