The Corner

‘As You Know. . .’

“. . . As you know, medical expenses are a major factor in nearly two-thirds of bankruptcy filings.” That’s from Elizabeth Edwards’s testimony before Congress earlier this week. A few months ago, Megan McArdle debunked the junk social science on which this bit of testimony was based. Aparna Mathur has also gone through the many, many ways the study inflated its finding. Mathur estimates that in actuality “the fraction of bankruptcies caused by medical debts ranges from around 16 to 29 percent.” Todd Zywicki, a professor at the George Mason School of Law and an expert on bankruptcy, points out that the percentage-of-bankruptcies figure is not terribly useful anyway, since the total number of bankruptcies has moved around so much over the last decade. But the Left has its factoid, and it’s sticking to it.       

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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