Missouri News

Missouri medical malpractice cap to be debated in the House

Next week in the House, legislation on a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice noneconomic damages will be debated.

The permanent cap would be a significant reduction from Missouri's current medical malpractice limit, which is $579,000. The medical malpractice limit has risen annually with inflation and can be applied against each act of malpractice committed by the health care providers who are sued.

The Missouri Department of Insurance released an actuarial report yesterday examining 18 medical malpractice insurance providers from 1994 to 2003. The average Missouri medical malpractice settlement per claim rose steadily over that time, but the number of claims in recent years has leveled off.

Supporters of the Missouri medical malpractice cap believe insurance rates will go down as a result, but opponents say the proposed restrictions could devalue the lives of the injured. Republican Gov. Matt Blunt praised the legislation, in particular the $250,000 cap saying to the victims of medical errors, “I would say to those people, we understand your concern, but there is no amount of money that you could provide that would alleviate fully their pain and suffering...and $250,000 is a reasonable limit on noneconomic damages.”

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