St. Louis Public Radio News
4:50 pm
Thu February 27, 2003

Malpractice Bill Passes in Mo.; Doctors Rally in Ill.

Jefferson City, Mo & Springfield, Ill. – The Missouri House Wednesday gave first-round passage to new limits on personal injury lawsuits.

The measure lowers the amount of financial damages people could win for the pain, suffering and emotional distress caused by their injuries.

Republicans say the plan will help stem the rising costs of malpractice insurance.
But critics say lawsuits aren't the problem; insurance company polices and a lack of competition are.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, doctors from across the state rallied at the State Capitol to protest their insurance costs.
Their lobbying group, the Illinois State Medical Society, says large jury awards in malpractice cases lead to higher insurance rates.

The group's president, Dr. John Scheider, says those higher rates have a severe impact on how communities get care.

Illinois established a cap on punitive damages eight years ago, but the State Supreme Court later overturned those limits.