* From a reader…
Thought you might be interested in this opinion from the Third District Appellate Court, Mercy Crystal Lake Hospital and Medical Center v. Illinois Health Facilities and Service Review Board, 2016 IL App (3d) 130847. http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2016/3rdDistrict/3130947.pdf
I have no involvement in the case, but found it interesting while reviewing cases because two of the justices, Holdridge and Schmidt, offer insight into what Holdridge calls the “sausage factory in Springfield.” (see paragraph 34.) Schmidt’s special concurrence gives some historical context behind the Certificate of Need for hospitals and basically rips the whole process. Schmidt says, “This legislation assures that money keeps pouring in to Illinois politicians not only from those wishing to build new hospitals, but also from incumbent hospitals wishing to avoid any competition. Each side wants their friends on the Board. This, of course, leads each side to “donate” to Illinois governors and senators. This in addition to the history of bribes to Board members.” (see paragraph 48)
I realize it pales in comparison to other things going on in Springfield (not the least being the lack of budget), but thought you might be interested.
Thanks for doing such an amazing job with the blog. It is must-read for anyone who cares about Illinois.
* The opinion’s setup…
In closing, we offer a few words on the special concurrence. Justice Schmidt’s offering brings to mind a timeless observation made in 1869 by American lawyer and poet John Godfrey Sax, to wit: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.” (Internal quotation marks omitted.) An Impeachment Trial, The Chronicle, Mar. 27, 1869, at 4. By taking the public on a tour of the sausage factory in Springfield, Justice Schmidt risks triggering a collective case of indigestion. On the other hand, Justice Schmidt may be this generation’s Upton Sinclair. A little dyspepsia might be a small price to pay for some much needed (and long overdue) transparancy. After all, as Justice Brandeis so aptly put it, “[p]ublicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Louis D. Brandeis, Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It (1914). We can only hope that the light that Justice Schmidt shines on the factory floor in Springfield leads to the production of more sanitary and wholesome sausages in the future. For now, to paraphrase Captain Renault from Casablanca, we will merely note that we are shocked, shocked to find that political considerations are influencing the legislative process in Illinois.
* The hardball concurrence…
In essence and in fact, this legislation is nothing more than an additional corruption tax added to the cost of healthcare in Illinois. This legislation is clearly anticonsumer, but propolitician. Ironically, eradicating the Planning Act would fulfill the stated goal of the Planning Act. Yet, as the cost of healthcare continues to rise and Illinois remains the poster-child for political corruption, the General Assembly repeatedly refuses to do so. This legislation assures that money keeps pouring in to Illinois politicians not only from those wishing to build new hospitals, but also from incumbent hospitals wishing to avoid any competition. Each side wants their friends on the Board. This, of course, leads each side to “donate” to Illinois governors and senators. This is in addition to the history of bribes to Board members.
By restricting the output of healthcare services and diminishing incentives to pursue innovation, the Planning Act imposes significant and unnecessary costs on healthcare consumers, i.e., the people of Illinois. As a result of this legislation, Centegra has been forced to jump through years of pointless hoops and incur untold unnecessary costs in order to build its hospital. Guess who ultimately incurs those costs. This is unacceptable. For these reasons, I specially concur in the judgment.