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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

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Thursday, March 27, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Lance: To Veterans Affairs. It appears that the VA is keeping the proverbial two sets of books when it comes to public disclosure about the circumstances surrounding the causes of the latest deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at its Pittsburgh hospitals. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., says VA officials told Congress one thing while saying another thing in emails discussing internal investigations. It's way past time for the VA to come clean.

Lance: To Allegheny County Council. Some members are concerned that the executive branch had access to its computer system. Clandestine “snooping” is the term that's been bandied about. So, to address all of this alleged surreptitious skulduggery — denied by the administration of Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald — the council met, at least twice (are you ready for this?) in secret “executive sessions.” Ovaltine decoder rings cannot be far behind.

On the “Watch List”: Contract law. A number of local state legislators, Republican and Democrat, are pushing a measure that would require hospital behemoth UPMC to contract with insurance giant Highmark. But the right of contract goes both ways. That is, government cannot force you into a contract (never mind what the U.S. Supreme Court ruled regarding ObamaCare). If the General Assembly, also known as the Merry Band of Thieves, can force a UPMC-Highmark deal, it can force anybody to do anything. No thanks.

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