Talking Points: Some Thoughts After A Vacation

BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us

 Well, I was out in San Diego vacationing.  Great place.  But the no
spin zone never really goes on a complete holiday, and I picked up some
interesting information for you.  That's the subject of this evening's
talking points memo.

 Just south of San Diego is the town of Chula Vista, where Duke Energy
rents a power plant.  Three guys who were fired from that plant say Duke
cut power when California's energy shortage was at its worst.  The men say
they were ordered to do that so Duke could jack up the prices.  I believe
these guys. 

 Now the federal government is finally stepping in and scrutinizing the
energy companies that raised prices dramatically when California ran out of
power.  That's what the Feds should have done a long time ago.  We don't
need price caps, we need strict enforcement of the law regarding restraint
of trade.  Simply put, energy, medicine and the airlines and other vital
industries are so important to the public interest that the federal
government must oversee them.  You can't let market manipulators hurt the
American people. 

 The reason we have a strong central government in Washington is to
protect us.  That's why they're there.  But that protection is breaking
down, in my opinion.  Take this Patients' Bill of Rights, for example. 
Most everybody knows that HMOs don't always give the best care, especially
when it's expensive.  So of course Americans should have the right to sue
them.  President Bush wants to limit HMO liability to $500,000.  The
Democrats and some Republicans like John McCain want $5 million.  Mr. Bush
points out that a ceiling that high would encourage frivolous lawsuits, and
he's right. 

 But all this could be solved in a heartbeat.  All these geniuses in
Washington have to do is to include in the Patients' Bill of Rights Federal
Rule 11.  That rule says that a federal judge has the right to order anyone
who files a stupid lawsuit to pay all the court costs.  Just extend Rule 11
to all HMO lawsuits, state or federal, and give the states financial
incentives to go along.  Presto!  The frivolous lawsuits become dangerous, 
but the sick American still has some redress against the HMO. 

 So why doesn't this happen?  The answer is because many politicians
want to grandstand these issues and pay back their supporters.  The
Democrats are not looking out for you.  They are looking out for the trial
lawyers.  The Republicans are not looking out for you.  They are looking
out for the insurance companies.  Get the picture? 

 The federal government has to begin to do its job, protecting us from
the criminals and the exploiters.  We need aggressive advocates for the
people, not shills for the powerful special interests.  Hey, you down there
in D.C., knock off the nonsense.  Put Rule 11 in the patients bill of
rights and pass the darned thing.  And that's the memo.