Friday, October 7, 2016

US Labor Department - Workers Comp "race to the bottom”

When workers comp insurance executives fly around Colorado proclaiming how well Colorado's Workers Comp functions, remember their number one concern is how well it functions in making profits for them.  Once we get past the pretty advertising brochures patients are merely revenue producing units.  These harsh words are justified by the ugly little secret that even the US Labor Department has had to acknowledge. Workers Comp programs are being straggled by insurance corporation more interested in profits that caring for people.


It's time for a new health care system, one that is responsive to patients, not to amoral corporate overlords.  ColoradoCare's Amendment 69 provides the framework to create such a health care system.  Vote Yes on Amendment 69!

{ hat tip to Dr. Tom Horiagon } 
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Labor Report Urges Study Of A Federal Role In State Workers' Comp Laws

HOWARD BERKES, NPR and MICHAEL GRABELL, PROPUBLICA

October 5, 2016

A "race to the bottom" in state workers' compensation laws has the Labor Department calling for "exploration" of federal oversight and federal minimum benefits.

"Working people are at great risk of falling into poverty," the agency says in a new report on changes in state workers' comp laws. …

The report was prompted by a letter last fall from 10 prominent Democratic lawmakers, who urged Labor Department action to protect injured workers in the wake of a ProPublica/NPR series on changes in workers' comp laws in 33 states.

The ProPublica/NPR stories featured injured workers who lost their homes, were denied surgeries or were even denied prosthetic devices recommended by their doctors. …

The agency also suggests a fresh look at reestablishing a 1972 Nixon administration commission that recommended minimum benefits and urged Congress to act if states failed to comply. …

No direct administrative or legislative action is proposed in the report, but Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says he's "drafting legislation to address many of the troubling findings laid out in this report and will be working with my colleagues to advance it in the next Congress.”

Brown echoes Perez, saying injuries on the job shouldn't force workers into poverty.

"But without a basic standard for workers compensation programs, that's exactly what's happening in too many states across the country," Brown adds.

Another incentive for federal involvement, the report notes, is a shift of billions of dollars in workplace injury costs to taxpayers when state workers' comp benefits fall short and workers are forced to turn to Medicare and Social Security for treatment and lost wages. …  {link to full story}
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For a more detailed review see:



U.S. Labor Department: States Are Failing Injured Workers

A new Department of Labor report says cuts to state workers’ comp systems have left injured workers with inadequate benefits and raises the specter of federal oversight. The findings echo those of a ProPublica and NPR investigation last year.

by Michael Grabell | ProPublica | October 5, 2016







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