MISSOURI'S NINE-YEAR experience with capping medical malpractice awards offers lukewarm support for the effort in Congress to limit court awards to patients hurt by sloppy medical care.
After Missouri passed its cap in 1986, malpractice insurance premiums for doctors stabilized, and the number of frivolous suits appeared to decline. But other results were not entirely expected. More claims have gone to court, and jury verdicts have gone up.
Altogether, the biggest beneficiary appears to have been the insurance industry.
In Congress, the original Contract with America proposal did not include a cap on court awards for "pain and suffering" - the big money in …