McDonnell takes action on 2011 General Assembly legislation

Gov. Bob McDonnell has taken action on legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2011 session.

One of the highlights was a veto of legislation (SB 771/HB 1459) that would increase the medical malpractice cap in Virginia from the current $2 million to $3 million. McDonnell said in issuing the veto that raising the cap “without further reforms in the medical malpractice litigation system … will not meaningfully protect against health-care cost increases.”

“Mandates included in the federal health-care law, which is currently in litigation, will cost Virginia an estimated $2 billion over the next 10 years if implemented, and are creating great uncertainty in the health-care system,” McDonnell said. “Thus, adding to system costs at this time without other offsets should not occur. While I commend the affected stakeholders for working diligently together, increasing the medical malpractice cap will ultimately lead towards higher health-care costs for doctors, hospitals, businesses, and most importantly, patients.”

McDonnell also vetoed a measure that would have increased civil penalties issued by order of the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality (SB 1119) and another bill that would have imposed a fine for failure to report certain water withdrawal violations (HB 1738).

The governor as well made minor amendments to his historic transportation funding measure that puts the most new money into transportation in Virginia since 1986. Finally, the governor amended legislation related to the mandated coverage of autism in health insurance plans offered in the Commonwealth (HB 2467 and SB 1062).

“We have communicated with the patrons to ensure this legislation is in the proper form to guarantee the balance between meeting the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, their parents who purchase insurance coverage, businesses who provide insurance to their employees, and the industry that provides the coverage,” McDonnell said. “I recognize and thank those business owners who often make great sacrifices to provide affordable health care coverage to their employees. I urge my friends in the General Assembly to approve these common-sense amendments.”

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