St. Charles/Lincoln County Medical Society
DOCTORS DISAPPOINTED IN FAILED OVERRIDE OF TORT REFORM
The Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA) which represents more
than 6,000 physicians statewide, expressed strong disappointment
in the failed override of Governor Bob Holden’s veto of House
Bill 1304, the tort reform package which passed the General Assembly
with bi-partisan support earlier in the session.
“The physicians of the state are gravely disappointed because
the efforts to ensure patients’ access to care was not recognized
in the failed attempt to override Governor Holden’s veto of HB
1304,” stated Dr. Edmond Cabbabe, president of the Missouri State
"As the medical professional liability insurance crisis continues to
escalate, more and more physicians
are abandoning high-risk practices such as obstetrics, neuro and trauma
surgery, and leaving clinics and hospitals in plaintiffs' friendly court
districts such as the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City. Many more
physicians are retiring early because they cannot pass the sky-high
premiums and other rising costs of doing business onto their patients.
Other physicians have moved to states where meaningful legislation is
enacted including a lower cap on non-economic damages and other reforms.
The states of Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Texas are among those
states," said Cabbabe.
"We do appreciate the bipartisan efforts of those in the legislatures
who worked hard in the interest of their constituents in attempting
to override the veto. They put the people of Missouri above politics
in their attempt to deliver our state from this tremendous crisis,"
The medical community will continue to seek a solution to the crisis
through meaningful reforms.
Entire MSMA Statement
GOVERNOR VETOES HB 1304
Surprising no one but disappointing many, Governor Holden vetoed HB
1304 on Tuesday (April 27). The top objection in his veto message
was that the bill didn’t contain any insurance regulation.
This even though HB 1305, an insurance regulation bill that his own
Department of Insurance testified in support of, is close to being on
his desk (it is already through the House and has won first-round
approval in the Senate). The Governor sent the House and Senate a package
of insurance and tort reforms that he said he could sign. His proposed
bill includes several insurance reforms, most of which are embodied
in the aforementioned HB 1305, some language enhancing the state’s
ability to start up its own insurance entity via a joint underwriting
association, and a smattering of tort reforms.
The proposed tort reforms? Not a word about venue shopping, nothing
on collateral sources, nothing on joint and several liability, nothing
on statute of limitations for minors, nothing on punitive damages, and
nothing on trauma care. So what does it do? Read MSMA
Legislative Report No. 16 for details on this and the Department
of Insurance Report.
Within the next week or so the House of Representatives will attempt
to override the Governor’s veto of HB 1304 (tort reform). The
following representatives have been identified as those who might be
convinced to vote for the override, even though most of them voted against
the bill the first time around. If any of these legislators represent
an area near you (or any of your patients), please call their Capitol
office as soon as possible and urge them to support the override.
Remind them that this is about your patients and their access to care,
and remind them that we cannot wait another year to address this crisis.
HB 1304 Goes To The Governor
After a long, bizarre series of rarely-used parliamentary maneuvers
and counter-maneuvers, Senate Republicans this morning (April 22) brought
closure to a filibuster and moved HB 1304 to a final vote. When
the dust settled the bill was passed 21-13, with Democrats Charles
Wheeler and Wayne Goode in support, and Sarah Steelman as the lone Republican
in opposition. The House considered the bill on Monday, and had little
trouble passing it. The vote there was 93-61, with nine Democrats
voting in support (Reps. Page, Seigfreid, Skaggs, Meiners, Lawson,
Barnitz, Bringer, Selby, and B. Harris).
The whole package now goes to the Governor who must sign or veto
the bill within fifteen days. There still is no word from the Governor’s
office, but most observers believe he will veto the bill, even though
it is not nearly as broad as the bill he vetoed last year.If he does
veto it, we will have an opportunity to override his decision before
the General Assembly adjourns on May 14. So let the pressure begin.
Drop whatever you are doing right now, and write or call the
Governor. His address: Honorable Bob Holden, Executive Offices, State
Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101. His telephone: 573-751-3222.
Urge him to sign HB 1304 into law. (Source:
MSMA Legislative Report #15,
HB 1304 Key Points:
See below for tips on contacting your elected officials.
In addition to posting legislative updates on our website, we encourage
you to visit MSMA's website to keep
up to date with legislative news affecting all physicians.
- Lowers cap on non economic damages to $350,000 – no inflation increases
- Restricts filing of in-state claims to the counties where the actions
- Restricts joint and several liability – defendant must be at least
51% at fault
- Addresses affidavit of merit – expert must be licensed and certified
in substantially the same profession and specialty as the defendant
Suggested Links for Legislative
State Medical Association - www.MSMA.org
the home page of this site you will see the latest Tort Reform news.
Members may visit the secure area for other important legislative updates.
Library of Congress' Website - http://thomas.loc.gov
How you can take Legislative
your Congressional Representatives
your Senator to support physicians and women all across America.
The phone number for the Capitol Switchboard is (202) 224-3121.
From there you can be connected to your senator and other congressional representatives.
your Senator know that you support Medicare Physician Payment Increase.
For a printable copy of an appropriate letter, click
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