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President Bush Heads to Madison County, Ill. Today

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(UPI file photo)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – President Bush will visit suburban St. Louis today (Wednesday) to push for major changes in the legal system. Mr. Bush will be visiting Madison County, Ill.

The American Tort Reform Association calls the jurisdiction its number one judicial hellhole, and says physicians are leaving in droves because of the high cost of medical malpractice insurance.

Republican John Shimkus represents much of St. Louis's east side in Congress. He says the president will make the case for caps on pain and suffering awards in malpractice cases before an invitation-only audience.

But critics of the tort reform movement say there are a number of reasons behind high malpractice insurance rates, and capping damages in lawsuits will not solve the problem.

St. Louis University law professor Nicolas Terry says the issue is far more complex: "The cost of medical malpractice insurance tends to be a function of insurance underwriting cycles, and is more tightly interwoven with more general economic conditions than it has any direct coupling with tort verdicts."

KWMU's Matt Sepic was a guest on Chicago Public Radio on Tuesday, speaking about the President's trip and Madison County. To hear that interview with Chicago Public Radio's Melba Lara, click here --->

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