Tuesday, August 31, 2004

FOLLOW THE MONEY (WITH FINGERS REACHING). At the RNC, Bill Frist has the severe enunciation and choppy gestures of a TV pitchman. Come to think of it, so has Gore, on occasion. Is this a Tennessee thing? Or just the long legacy of Pappy O'Daniel?

He's very strongly against trahhhl lawyers, of course, and pleads that doctors be protected legislatively from the rising insurance premiums which their depradations have caused. This is one of those ideas that sounds good until you actually hear one of its leading advocates explain it; then you start thinking, wait a minute -- are we really ready to restrain juries from giving large settlements in order to keep insurance rates down? If so, will we also hold the insurers' feet to the fire, and require that they slash their rates by an equal percentage of the projected savings?

That I'd like to see! Never happen, of course. If anything, the trend is toward having cash-strapped state governments muscle in on large punitive settlements as "windfall" profits that should serve the interests of the state. Such a plan, in fact, was proposed just this year by tonight's star speaker, Governor Schwarzenegger.

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