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Mo. House panel considers medical liability limits

Missouri Capitol
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A bill requiring voter ID at the polls caused heated debate at the Missouri House of Representatives Monday.

Several doctors testified before a Missouri House committee today, urging lawmakers to reinstate liability limits for medical malpractice cases. The state’s Supreme Court struck down such a cap last summer, saying it was unconstitutional. A 2005 law had capped noneconomic damages for medical malpractice at $350,000. That was part of a broader effort to curb liability lawsuits.

Supporters of the cap say it helped the state’s medical community, reducing health care costs and keeping doctors in Missouri. Opponents say there is a fundamental constitutional right to a jury trial.

Lawmakers have proposed a measure that would rearrange the legal underpinning for medical practice cases -- in hopes of bypassing concern about constitutionality.

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