I had intended to write an article about the recent reports from NPR/ProPublica and OSHA about the serious harm many workers are being subjected to by the workers’ comp system, as well as write about a recent article in Mother Jones magazine attacking the opt-out issue that I have written about in the past.
However, David De Paolo has written a good article that I want to share with you today, as well as my comment to him in response.
Here is David’s article:
Here is my comment to him this morning:
I wrote to Michael Grabell last week and gave him my research on the employee/employer choice of physician issue, which I think he got wrong. He said that there were 37 states that limited choice, but he did not read the text to the WCRI report from last April that listed all of the option employees had. As is usual with politically oriented journalists, they assume that if there is a complex set of rules, then that is a restriction on the rights of people. It isn’t. It is just that allowing an injured worker to choose any doctor, especially his private doctor, does not work when you are dealing with occupational injuries, as many of them are not trained to treat them, so the state legislatures established guidelines for the choice of physicians that employees can have. Also, I read the MJ article, and wrote the author, but have not had any response. I was a subscriber to MJ years ago, and understand their point of view, but I agree with your assessment to a point. Yet, there is some validity to MJ’s suspicions, in light of the way businesses and politicians are rolling back the gains of the labor movement and taking the country back to the late 19th century when workers had no rights, no benefits, and were at the mercy of the so-called “free market” that government, and in particular, work comp was supposed to deal with. I support the opt-out option only as far as it will allow workers to get better care in medical facilities that are less expensive and have equal or better quality of care. I do not support ARAWC if their real motive is to gut workers’ comp and get rid of it altogether.
I was a little conflicted when I read the Mother Jones article, especially since I have been so supportive of opt-out with regard to implementing medical travel into workers’ comp, but I want to make this perfectly clear, echoing a now disgraced ex-president, that: I, in no way support the dismantling and elimination of workers’ compensation altogether, just so that the extreme right-wing, free-market libertarian types, win and workers lose, as we are seeing in many states across the nation.
David is right when he says that opt-out must have reasonable protections that meet the essential elements of work injury protection and that means taking care of an injury for life and not stacking dispute resolution in favor of one party or the other.
And he is also right that we need to become more aware of the problems of workers’ comp, and not wish that “everything is beautiful” and therefore any discussion of the ills of workers’ comp, even ones that rely on anecdotes and personal stories, rather than statistics and data, are not to be accepted or given credence.
Disraeli said this about lies: “There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
Paul Broduer said: “Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.”
So statistics can only tell us so much. It’s the lives of real people brought forth in articles like the one in Mother Jones, or the reports by NPR/ProPublica and OSHA that really have any real value, because there are real human beings in there, not a bunch of numbers.
I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer who is sick and tired of being bled by the Wall Street vulture capitalists and the entire medico-legal system known as workers’ comp, to save money, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees, while at the same time, helping to break the monopoly of the American health care cartel.
Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies, (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp. Connect with me on LinkedIn and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.