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The McDonnell Veto Part 2

     Some blogs that I start, seem to have the initial excitement of an Amish Prom. I never fancy my blog to be hard hitting journalism and I try to stay generally away from the real politics.

     I am just  following up on Part 1  to give you some McDonnell facts to consider, as to why he would veto a House Bill that was overwhelmingly supported by republicans, democrats, the medical and insurance industry, and trial lawyers. I present…. you decide. Hmm, that almost sounds familiar. 

     I don’t expect this blog to cause hot taut tears, like the ones that Mr Bundchen had, coursing down his cheeks, when he was drafted by the Patriots in the 6th round of the NFL draft.(Tom Brady Crying) (OK, my anti- opinion is coming out here about Tom Brady and the Patriots… just can’t heppp it!) See what I’m doing here. A little bit of bias against Tom Brady, as an example of  what might have caused the Veto.

     The American Tort Reform Association  (ATRA)  says on their website that they formed because   “We are the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation.”

     ATRA states that they “identify and champion elected officials and judges who want to fix the system”.  Their intent is to “stop regulation through litigation”.  Their President of this national organization, Sherman Joyce, is a Virginia licensed attorney, so he is well aware of the laws going into effect in Virginia.

     For argument sake, let’s assume that these goals sound OK on the surface. Unfortunately, anything extreme can be dangerous. By “fixing the system”, what they have shown by their actions is to get matters away from juries because those crazy runaway juries can be influenced by “snake oil salesman” with law degrees.

     It’s no secret that business suffers when they have to answer to regulations. They can’t dump where they want to; they have to seek approval and sometimes get turned down on drugs and products to market; and they are held accountable for representations that are made. Take it out of a jury’s determination and limit accountability, helps make better quarterly profits.

     So why would this somehow be related to Governor McDonnell’s veto. Well, look at the goals of this organization. Then, notice where they have given money for campaign contributions. Why would they want to “champion” his candidacy? 

     In 2005, the American Tort Reform Association gave a donation of 200K into an organization called the Virginia Conservative Action Pac  (VPAC). VPAC then endorsed Bob McDonnell for Attorney General and …… donated 200K to his campaign. One of my previous blogs outlined additional ATRA contributions to McDonnell, so let me move on to another consideration.

     Eli Lilly manufactured and distributed a drug called Zyprexa. Its purpose was to treat depression and, specifically,  schizophrenia. Its warning label did not properly list the horrible side effects such as diabetes and other related death causing issues, that were then treated and paid for by many Medicaid programs in each state.

     Separately, Eli Lilly paid over 1.2 Billion to resolve individual claims. Then, state Attorney Generals brought action to get monies back from their Medicaid programs.  West Virginia, as one of the smaller states, received 22.5 million back in its coffers. Even Montana received 13 million.

     In Pennsylvania where they were based, Eli Lilly paid a fine of 1.42 Billion for fraud charges that were brought by Prosecutors there, because of the marketing and false labeling. Again, this was totally separate from any payout for the civil suits brought by over 30,000 people that were prescribed the drug.

     Let me try to get to my point quickly, because I think you know where I am headed.  32  states and  the District of Columbia were also paid 62 million for the reimbursement of medical bills that were paid by these states, from the Eli Lilly conduct. Now, google “Virginia and Eli Lilly settlement” or anything like that with “Zyprexa” and see what comes up. (Waiting…Waiting) If you have clicked on the 62 million settlement and listing of states, you will also see Virginia not listed.

     In 2002, amid great fanfare, Governor Mark Warner announced 6 million of state money that was going to a new Eli Lilly plant in Prince William County.   In 2007, Eli Lilly stopped the expansion and operation and decided to go to Italy instead. No Warner parade over that one.

     What am I saying?  Our politicians usually are driven by money and their future plans. I’m suggesting that just as Bob McDonnell, as Attorney General, did not want to go after a pharmaceutical company for reimbursement to the state, he doesn’t want to be connected to any increase in a cap number; even when it makes sense for all sides and is agreed upon. This veto is a continuing trend.

     It took about 7 days to overturn his veto in the General Assembly. But,  he can now say that he voted against a cap increase. Plus, his past actions did not go after a Pharmaceutical company. By the way, look at the members of ATRA. Does it surprise you what I might suggest about the Big Pharma involvement?

     The mantra of politicians is that cap increases cost patients money; drive doctors from the state and drive up insurance costs. This comes straight from the politician campaign textbook. You’ll find others saying the exact wording.  However, you’ll never see statistics connected to that claim. Instead, connect the dots to campaign contributions for others that want to “champion” jury limitations and lack of Big Business accountability. 

     Someone is already probably getting his talking points together for his next campaign ad. He had to know that his veto was going to get overturned, didn’t he?

     I leave it to you to consider.     That’s just a taste of the trail of influence.  THE END.   I promise… No part 3

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