Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Missouri Supreme Court Finds Tort Reform Unconstitutional

The 4 to 3 decision that killed Missouris efforts to curb malpractice cost inflation, the largest cost factor in health care services, reads:
“Such a limitation was not permitted at common law when Missouri’s constitution first was adopted in 1820 and, therefore, violates the right to trial by jury guaranteed” by the Missouri Constitution, the ruling stated.
So basically, the court took an ultra constructionist view saying that if something did not exist at the time of the drafting of the state constitution, it can never be regulated by the legislature...  
Stephen Slocum, a physician and president of the Missouri State Medical Association, contended that before 2005, Missouri physicians saw their medical lawsuit insurance premiums soar. Some lost coverage altogether, he said. Many physicians left their practice, retired early or abandoned high-risk services such as surgery and delivering babies.
Since the cap on damages was put into place, lawsuits against physicians have fallen by almost 58 percent, Slocum said, and the state has added nearly 1,000 physicians.
What were Missourians to expect when they trust an elite group of trial lawyers to voluntarily rule against their own ability to exploit malpractice insurance companies?

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