Barbour: lawsuit caps are helping state

Gov. Haley Barbour was in the Hub City Tuesday commemorating the anniversary of the passage of tort reform and applauding its impact on the state's medical and business climate.

Barbour spoke to physicians at Hattiesburg Clinic about the legislation that forever changed lawsuit settlements in Mississippi. Now in effect for two years, tort reform limits juries to a $1 million cap on non-economic damages and $500,000 in medical malpractice lawsuits.

"Story is, tort reform has worked," Barbour says. "It's reduced the cost of medical liability insurance significantly and it's also helped us control healthcare for patients in our state. It's helped patients by getting us out of a healthcare crisis that we had in 2004 and had a while before then. It's helped patients because it's helped rein in costs."

Lawmakers enacted the lawsuit reforms under pressure from healthcare providers who complained that skyrocketing insurance costs were driving them out of the state.

Barbour says just one year after the legislation, the state's largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, cut its premiums.