High stakes election has some reeling, many glowing

The Madison County Record Nov. 5, 2004, 2:44am

"The Supreme Court race was a referendum on the medical liability crisis. Voters in southern Illinois and the hospital community sent a clear message to the Governor, legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers: Time is running out - doctors are leaving and patients are being harmed. Meaningful medical liability reform
must be enacted. We urgently need the legislature to take action to protect patient access to quality health care."-- Kenneth C. Robbins, president of the Illinois Hospital Association, in a press release.

"This means workers' rights are basically up for grabs. Overtime pay is up, Social Security is up for grabs. Everything labor has fought for in the last 100 years could be wiped out in the next four. We're really shell-shocked right now." --Jeff Weiss, communications director for the Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO in the Daily Herald.

“This (tort reform) issue has traction. This could become a major issue in the next gubernatorial election. There will have to be more judicial and legislative scalps before the Democratic leadership will throw the trial lawyers under the bus." -- Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association in Crain's Chicago Business.

"I feel like a Munchkin who just came out and saw the house drop on the witch. A lot of us are going around today saying, 'Did the house really drop on the witch?"-- Don Weber, former Madison County State's Attorney in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Physicians from all Illinois counties and districts rolled up their sleeves and contributed to Karmeier's campaign with generous financial contributions and patient education efforts. They also publicly lent their support to media ads that exposed Maag's deplorable record on medical liability issues as an Appellate Court judge.

IMPAC spent $170,000 on radio and newspaper ads, as well as direct mail pieces, in support of Karmeier. IMPAC’s contribution, while significant, paled in comparison to the $4.5 million pumped into Maag’s campaign by plaintiff’s attorneys.

Amazingly, Karmeier carried both Madison and St. Clair Counties, long considered Democrat strongholds run by plaintiff’s attorneys. Physicians and patients in those two counties have been hard hit, as over 160 physicians have been forced to leave the area.

Madison and St. Clair Counties’ physicians and patients vented their displeasure at the polls by denying Maag both the Supreme Court seat as well as retention on the Appellate Court.

Judge Karmeier’s win is also a major victory for IMPAC, because it sends a strong message to all public officials – especially in southern Illinois – that failure to attend to the medical liability issue is a political liability."-- Statement on Illinois State Medical Society Web site (www.isms.org).

"(Maag's defeat) sends a good message both for the state and the country that it's time for a change in southwestern Illinois. You can't have this free-for-all going on down there that has painted that part of Illinois as the judicial hellhole of the country. That's not good advertising for Illinois."-- Mike Skarr, president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce in the Daily Herald

"The results of the ugly, dispiriting, destructive, misleading, money-drenched race sent two messages to the people of the state.

The first message is actually good news: The plaintiffs' lawyers' heavy influence over judgeships in Madison County may soon decline.

The second message: Illinois' system of electing judges is dangerously broken and subject to the sleazy influence of wealthy private interests. It should be replaced with a merit-selection system similar to Missouri's. "-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial, November 5.

"One thing that's quite clear -- people like doctors better than lawyers," said Jeff Stempel, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as quoted by the Associated Press.

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Illinois Hospital Association
1151 Warrenville Road
Naperville, Illinois 60566

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