Governor Blagojevich intends today to sign legislation addressing medical malpractice. The new law was hotly contested by personal injury trial lawyers on one side and hospitals and doctors on the other. Both sides have battled over this issue in the past, and both sides are significant donors to Illinois politicians. From January 1, 2003 through June 30, 2005 (including the last election cycle and the most recent figures available) supporters of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association have given at least $4.5 million to state politicians in Illinois, while hospitals and doctors have given at least $4.2 million.
The lion’s share of this money went to the 2004 Supreme Court election, held in the Fifth District, which turned on concerns that high malpractice premiums are forcing doctors to leave the state. The governor will be signing the new law at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Alton, Illinois, which is located in the Fifth District.
Since the start of 2005, the Trial Lawyers have contributed about $250K and hospitals and doctors have given about $780K. Expect both sides to continue fighting these issues, and giving politically, at these astronomical levels for the foreseeable future.
For ICPR's medical malpractice issue briefing released last May, click here.