The Missouri House gave final approval on Wednesday, March 5, to House Bill 1173, legislation that creates a statutory cause of action for medical malpractice and reinstitutes the 2005 caps on non-economic damages abrogated by the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in Watts. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, a Republican from Springfield, is supported by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“We support lawmakers’ decision to protect health care access and keep doctors in our state by reinstating these reasonable caps,” said Missouri Chamber President and CEO Dan Mehan. “We are also encouraged to see an appetite for common-sense tort reform by House leadership.”
The 2005 caps were part of a bi-partisan effort to bring stability to Missouri’s out-of-control tort system. If reasonable caps are not reinstated Missouri will again face the exact health care crisis remedied by the 2005 reforms.
“From an employer standpoint, higher liability costs on health care providers means higher insurance premiums to cover employees. Since the majority of private health care is purchased by employers, it makes sense that we would support this measure,” Mehan said.