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Business wins big in Missouri

March 16, 2005
By: Josh Hinkle
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 393, CCS 393

Business wins big in Missouri. Josh Hinkle has more from the state Capitol.

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Lawmakers achieved the two goals of Gov. Matt Blunt's pro-business agenda, passing bills that would limit compensation for injured workers and medical malpractice claims in state courts.

While business groups considered the passage a victory, Democratic opponents say injured Missourians might now find it tougher to obtain money from those responsible for their injuries.

And, when it comes to medical malpractice insurance premiums, St. Louis Sen. Maida Coleman says doctors might not be too happy with the bill's after-effects.

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Contents: "I'm really looking forward to the day when the Republicans and the doctors realize that their health premiums, their meidcal malpractice premiums will not be going down."

Coleman says there is no indication that insurance companies will actually reduce the cost of insurance for doctors... something that might have an adverse effect on the number of doctors working in Missouri... therefore hurting Blunt's so-called pro-business agenda.

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Missouri lawmakers sent two of their highest priority bills to the governor's desk. Josh Hinkle reports from the state Capitol.

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Gov. Matt Blunt's pro-business agenda is now close to becoming reality.

One of the bills would limit jury awards in medical malpractice cases.

Throughout this legislative session, doctors donned in white coats, have lobbied Republican lawmakers.

But Democratic opponents like St. Louis Sen. Maida Coleman say doctors should not assume Republicans are working on their behalf with this bill.

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Contents: "If you didn't even have the insurance companies at the table, why would anyone even think that insurance premiums are going down? No one in the insurance industry came forward and say that we can guarantee you that we're going to knock down those medical malpractice insurance premiums."

If signed by the governor, the new law would require courts to hear cases in the county where the medical injury occurred, among other stipulations.

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State lawmakers wonder whether a third time will be a charm when it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits in Missouri. Josh Hinkle reports from the state Capitol.

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Along with the passage of a bill that makes it tougher for injured workers to get compensated, Missouri lawmakers sent another bill to Gov. Matt Blunt's desk that would impose new restrcitions on medical malpractice claims.

In the past two years, former Democratic Gov. Bob Holden vetoed similar bills.

But Republican supporters like St. Louis County Sen. John Loudon, say they have no doubt the new Republican governor will sign it into law this time around.

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Contents: "The governor showed major leadership. He took the heat on medicaid, workers comp reform, tort reform... He said, this is what I want to do and I'm willing to take the heat on it. And when the legislators have a mandate like that, it's very easy to follow that clear direction and make it happen."

Both bills will go to Blunt's desk this week before legislators adjourn for their annual spring break.

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