An effort to limit the amount of money victims of medical malpractice can get for pain and suffering is tied up in the state Senate because of a big difference of opinion about money.
Missouri had limits for several years until the state Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional. The effort to reinstitute them starts with a $350,000 limit. But some Senators want to let victims sue for as much as one-million dollars.
St. Joseph Senator Rob Schaaf, a medical doctor, says a million dollar cap would make malpractice insurance so unaffordable that many doctors will leave Missouri.
He favors the 350-thousand dollar limit on noneconomic damages, which he says will leave doctors’ insurance coverage with enough room to pay judgments for lost wages and benefits.
The bill’s sponsor, Rolla veterinarian Dan Brown, says 75 percent of the malpractice insurance companies doing business in Missouri stopped offering coverage before the first limits were imposed. He’s afraid that will happen again if his bill isn’t passed.