Senate “collateral source” bill defeated in House committee with help from some House Republicans

McDanielHigdonMarshallAndrews

Rep. Andrew McDaniel, Rep. Galen Higdon, Rep. Nick Marshall and Rep. Allen Andrews joined Democrats on the House Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee in defeating a bill that would have allowed reimbursement only for actual costs incurred by a plaintiff, not the amount billed that is never paid.

The bill, SB 847, sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery, would have allowed plaintiffs to seek reimbursement for the actual amount paid for medical services – not the amount that is initially billed but never paid.

Think of a statement from your health insurer as an example. Your total bill may be $1,000, but the amount paid by the insurance company is usually less than that amount, say $800. The bill would have allowed an injured party to recover the amount paid ($800), but not the amount that is never paid (the discounted $200).  This limitation would only be on the part of damages that are meant to make the plaintiff whole in terms of their costs. This amount is in addition to pain and suffering, lost wages, other actual costs, and/or punitive damages.

The current statute has been interpreted by the courts to mean the total amount billed for healthcare services is the amount that may be recovered, even if the amount is never paid, such as in the case of a discount allowed to a person that pays cash, or amounts paid under insurance policies.

“Common sense lost today,” said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri.”It boggles one’s mind how limiting actual cost recovery to actual costs incurred would somehow be viewed as ‘harming’ plaintiffs. They never pay the amounts they are trying to recover and the current interpretation of the law makes no sense. Today, some Republicans stood with plaintiff’s attorneys rather than using common sense,” said McCarty.

As election season is upon us, votes of this nature emphasize the importance of thoroughly investigating candidates, regardless of their claimed party and regardless of whether they claim to be “pro-business.”

“The proof is in their actual votes and actions, not their campaign words,” said McCarty.

It should be noted the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, a supporter of the measure and sponsor of an identical bill in the House, also voted against the bill so he could preserve his ability to make a motion to reconsider the bill in the future. We thank him for his actions in support of Missouri employers.

Interestingly, a House bill sponsored by Chairman McGaugh containing the same provisions was previously approved by the same committee.