March in Madness

By Travis Akin | Mar 14, 2010

The Mad Hatter is amusing audiences all across the country and soon even more March Madness will hit the airwaves during the upcoming NCAA Championship Basketball Tournament.

But here in Illinois, madness is not merely a spectacle. It is a way of life.

Illinois has become a national punch line. We already have one former governor in prison and the trial of another former governor is about to begin. While we await the trial, we also get to see former Governor Rod Blagojevich make us all proud by competing in the "Celebrity Apprentice" reality television show.

If you think the impeachment of Rod Blagojevich means Illinois has turned over a new leaf, then think again. A major party candidate for Lieutenant Governor just recently was forced to resign in disgrace mere days after winning his party's nomination.

Our state budget is in shambles thanks to years and years of mismanagement. Unemployment in Illinois is nearly two points higher than the national average. And the madness even extends to our courts as Illinois ranks 46th out of 50 states for legal fairness, according to a study from the respected Harris polling company.

A glaring example of why Illinois' legal system ranks so low can be found in a lawsuit two Madison County residents just recently filed against Blimpie restaurants. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim their "double meat" sandwiches fell short of the "double meat" promise.

So instead of asking for more meat, like any sensible person would, they have decided to file a lawsuit.

Sheer madness.

So are we seriously then all that surprised by the Illinois Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down the state's historic medical malpractice reform law?

The 2005 medical malpractice reform law was a legislative solution to the serious problem of doctors leaving Illinois in droves. The law had broad support from both political parties and it was a law carefully crafted to avoid the pitfalls of past attempts to implement caps in Illinois.

By some accounts, the law was working. For the third consecutive year, ISMIE Mutual Insurance Co., the state's largest insurer of physicians, recently announced that its base premium rates would not be going up.

But in one fell swoop, four Supreme Court justices, Thomas L. Kilbride, Charles E. Freeman, Thomas R. Fitzgerald and Anne M. Burke, struck down this historic law.

All of the progress made in the last few years to bring doctors back to Illinois is out the window. While unemployment continues to go up in Illinois and our budget deficit continues to grow, we now have to also worry about the future of healthcare again.

It is time we stood up as citizens and put an end to this madness by holding candidates for the Legislature and the Judiciary accountable. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to make sure our voices are heard. If we do nothing, it will only lead to more of the insanity and the madness.

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