Why Did Elmhurst Lawmaker Avoid Taking Stand On Issue?

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ELMHURST, IL — In November, state Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, spoke out against a bill that would cap the quickly escalating price of insulin. But when it came to voting on the legislation, Mazzochi, a lawyer, voted present, rather than yes or no.

Patch has been unable to reach Mazzochi either in December or this week about why she decided to vote present. Messages have not been returned.

During the legislative debate, Mazzochi warned the bill would only shift costs in the form of higher deductibles and premiums, according to Capitol News Illinois.

"The reason industry players are neutral on this bill is because they know it’s really not going to cut costs, it’s going to make a redistribution of costs. It’s going to shift them from one player to the other, but the players are still going to get paid," she was quoted as saying.

Mazzochi was correct about the neutrality. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents Big Pharma, was listed as neutral.

Under the bill, a person’s out-of-pocket costs for insulin would be limited to $100 for a 30-day supply under state-regulated insurance plans.

The bill sailed through the House 100-13 and the Senate 43-1. Mazzochi was the only one who voted present. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill in January.

Mazzochi is a founding partner of Chicago-based Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik LLP.

Much of the profile on Mazzochi on the law firm’s website deals with her experience on patent infringement and regulatory lawsuits in the pharmaceutical industry. The biography on her legislative website provides similar information.

Jennifer Zordani, R-Clarendon Hills, is running against Mazzochi in the November election. She said Mazzochi’s firm is tied to pharmaceutical companies and that she is tilted toward them in the Legislature. Zordani cited Mazzochi’s present vote on the insulin issue.

Zordani said Mazzochi’s effort for an ethics bill that targets property tax lawyers such as Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is fair. But she said it should be broadened to include those with other conflicts, referring to Mazzochi’s ties to pharmaceutical firms, where she said the lawmaker has an "inherent bias."

"The entire problem with Illinois politics is we don’t have strong enough standards," Zordani said.

Mazzochi represents the 47th District, which includes Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills and Western Springs, among other towns.

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via Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills, IL Patch

July 22, 2020 at 05:21PM

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