Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel

David De Paolo posted on his blog today about a case in Florida where the plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s workers’ comp system on the grounds that the various reforms over the many years the system has been in existence has served to devalue the workers’ compensation program to such a degree that it no longer can be said to meet its constitutionally declared objectives.

The plaintiffs in Julio Cortes v Velda Farms allege, according to De Paolo, that the comp system became “unconstitutional as an exclusive remedy in stages,” as lawmakers made changes that slowly eroded the benefits and protections available to workers.

The plaintiffs argue that up until 1968, parties could “opt-out” of participating in the comp system, much in the way Texas and Oklahoma are allowing employers to do now, but when workers’ compensation became the exclusive remedy for industrial injuries in 1970, the plaintiffs argue that lawmakers did not provide workers with anything in exchange for completely taking away their right to sue.

The plaintiffs are basing their argument on a 1973 case that asserted that anytime the Legislature takes away a right that had previously been guaranteed to the citizens of the state, it must provide a “reasonable alternative.”

De Paolo says that the plaintiffs have a long way to go in proving their case, but it made me stop and think of what might happen if the workers’ comp system was declared unconstitutional, and what that could mean for medical travel.

First of all, the employees might file claims under the employer’s group heaIth plan, so as part of the benefits package, the employer could offer medical travel as a option under their health plan. Second, it could mean that employers and employees might be more willing to pursue medical care out of state, for different reasons, of course. Employers would be interested in saving money and the employees would be interested in getting treated in their home countries.

Given the workforce demographic in Florida, medical treatment in their home countries in Latin America and the Caribbean would be more likely once injured workers and their employers are no longer be subject to administrative law judges and the courts, and that may boost medical travel in the region.

This entry was posted in Claims, Claims Process, Employee Benefits, Group Health Plans, Medical Tourism, Medical Travel, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , , , , on by .

About Transforming Workers' Comp

Have worked in the Insurance and Risk Management industry for more than thirty years in New York, Florida and Texas in the Claims and Risk Management spheres, primarily in Workers’ Compensation Claims, Auto No-Fault and Property & Casualty Claims Administration and Claims Management. Have experience in Risk and Insurance Business Analysis, Risk Management Information Systems, and Insurance Data Processing and Data Management. Received my Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) degree from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida in December 2011. Received my Master of Arts (MA) degree in American History from New York University, and received my Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Liberal Arts (Political Science/History/Social Sciences) from SUNY Brockport. I have studied World History, Global Politics, and have a strong interest in the future of human civilization in all aspects; economic, political and social. I am looking for new opportunities that will utilize my previous experience and MHA degree. I am available for speaking engagements and am willing to travel. LinkedIn Profile: Resume:

1 thought on “Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel

  1. Irene Padilla

    I have heard this before and I agree that Workmans’ Compensation is unconstitutional because on its face right now because injured workers are not given medical care at all or the the right medical care. BUT, what happens to the part where injured workers are compensated for lost wages? This also involves Voc rehab which was all but eliminated in CA. so how would IW’s get retrained or did any (self-insured) employer/pols.unions even really care? The other voc rehab to get assistance, like a wheel chair is gone too. Overall with workers compensation, the people were not allowed to vote on any comp laws since the federal mandate starting in 1911. Workmans’ Compensation, was engineered by industrialists, unions & politicians, our government both in federal & state and our benefits were all but totally eviscerated through the last couple of decades by the very same minded pols, corporations & unions without voter’s approval. AND this is where I believe that workman’s compensation IS and HAS BEEN unconstitutional all along while using the WC law to further hurt employees without any accountability and or charge the corporations, unions or pols for crimes against humanity.
    Where else can you get hurt, sick or dead, all done purposely and not have to pay for those crimes?



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