House votes to continue coverage for mesothelioma sufferers

Missouri’s House voted Tuesday to continue covering mesothelioma sufferers under workers’ compensation.

The decision bars those with the disease from filing certain lawsuits, including against former employers.

Missourians who suffer from mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos, can still sue third parties, such as contractors, said Rep. Barney Fisher, R-Vernon County. An employer’s exposure to lawsuits has been limited for 80 years under workers’ compensation, and it should stay that way, he said.

Rep. Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, supported the amendment to allow those with the disease to file suit against former employers. Hummel said his grandfather, a mesothelioma sufferer, only got four months of workers’ compensation before he died, but he should’ve received more.

“His life and the suffering that he went through is worth more than four months of workman’s comp,” Hummel said. “No one should have to lose their life and only be worth $800 a month.”

The bill needs one more vote in the House before it can move to the Senate.

– Missouri Digital News