The Missouri House has given initial passage to a bill that would reinstate limits to how much juries can award in cases of medical malpractice. The bill would not limit economic damages awards that cover things like medical bills or lost wages, but would limit noneconomic damages at $350,000.
House Speaker John Diehl, Junior (R-Town and Country) says that limit will allow doctors to stay in or come to Missouri by keeping the cost of malpractice insurance down.
“The more expensive we make it for doctors to practice, those costs are ultimately passed on to the consumers and helps drive up the cost of healthcare,” Diehl told Missourinet. “We need to provide some cost certainty to in the providing, particularly, of critical areas of healthcare that are often subject to these types of claims.”
Opponents say the bill would keep people who have been hurt by negligent doctors from getting fair settlements.
The legislation received 101 votes – not the 109 needed to overturn a governor’s veto if it came to that, but Diehl is satisfied.
“The closer we get to 109 is the best route to get a resolution of it. In the past we were substantially short. I think we’re in striking distance.”
The bill needs another favorable vote to go to the Senate.