The gallery of the Missouri Senate Chamber was lined with white coats on April 30 as a number of my physician colleagues and I gathered to show solidarity and support for tort reform in our state. Organized by the Missouri Tort Reform Coalition, our "white coat rally" was held in response to the state's Supreme Court decision in Watts v. Cox Medical Center declaring previous tort reform legislation unconstitutional and called on the General Assembly to make restoration of previous caps its highest priority. With this decision, physicians of Missouri can expect to see more lawsuits, increased insurance premiums, more physicians leaving the state, and a loss of access to care by women and children. Dr. Robert Schaaf, Missouri State Senator (R-St. Joseph) and an SMA physician member, presided over the debate for several hours, but unfortunately, we were outlasted by the plaintiff's attorneys who won the day. It looks like it will be another year before a remedy can be affected for Missouri's fractured healthcare system.
James F. Conant, MD
SMA Councilor for Missouri