A companion bill to the litigation reform bill given preliminary approval earlier also receives tentative approval by the House. Representative Richard Byrd of Kirkwood sponsors both. He says tort reform is the key to driving down medical malpractice insurance costs, but concedes insurance reform will help also. Byrd, though, makes insurance reform contingent on tort reform being signed into law by Governor Bob Holden. He rebuffs efforts to combine the two. Byrd’s bill would have the Department of Insurance establish risk-reporting categories for medical malpractice insurance premiums and use those to set a standard rate. Insurance companies would not be allowed to charge rates either 20-percent higher or 20-percent lower than that standard rate.
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