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Bedtime for Governor McDonnell’s Veto

     I just saw an article about a lawyer who defends railroads,  in lawsuits. She described people that get injured or killed by  trains as trespassers. The defense is that you shouldn’t get in the way of that train.  I wouldn’t have thought up that kind of defense; but, I guess, it works as a defense or they wouldn’t use it.

    When Ronald Reagan was running for President, he received a great deal of joking over his role in “Bedtime for Bonzo“. It was the story of a professor who was determined to prove his point with the help of a chimp. That choices of right and wrong are effected by your environment and other influences.

     I’m not sure that I ever was able to really watch the movie in its entirety, but I do remember that it didn’t stop him from being elected President; though I suspect that he personally disagreed with the premise of the movie.

     There were some great quotes in the movie.  One man was discussing a shady character. “When he  was buried,  there wasn’t a dry eye in the cell block”.  

     In this last Virginia General Assembly, one bill sailed through the house and Senate. It’s purpose was to increase the  dollar cap on a possible recovery in  malpractice lawsuits.

     It passed the House of Delegates by a margin of 89-8. The Senate then passed it on a 40-0 vote and sent it to the Governor for signature and into law. It had been passed by both governing bodies because it was a compromise between the Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. Basically, all sides agreed to this bill.

     The real math of the bill was to raise the malpractice cap from the current 2 million, to a cap of 3 million over the next 20 years. The cap would be raised by 50K per year until it reached the 3 million in the year 2031. HB 771 basically was considered a mathematical increase over 20 years, with an eye toward the time value of that period of years.  

     Despite the compromise and expected passage and signature of the Governor, Governor McDonnell vetoed the bill and stated that, “While I commend the affected stakeholders for working diligently together; increasing the medical malpractice will ultimately lead towards higher health care costs for doctors, hospitals, businesses and, most importantly, patients”.

     In my next blog, I will speculate as to why Governor McDonnell vetoed this bill. I’ve always wanted a part 2.  I captioned this blog “Bedtime for Governor McDonnell’s Veto” because I think that his veto has a reason. When the Legislature overturned the Governor’s  veto and  made HB 1459 a law, they were, by an overwhelming vote in both chambers, disagreeing with the Governor’s statement.  It officially goes into effect on July 1.

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