Workers’ Comp Opt-Out Goes Under US Microscope

Laws that allow employers in Texas and Oklahoma to opt out of the states’ workers comp systems could be subject to federal oversight, according to an article today in Business Insurance.com,  amid concerns about their effect on injured workers’ access to benefits and care and potential discrimination against employees who report workplace injuries and illnesses.

The article by Gloria Gonzalez, stated that last October, several Congressmen  wrote to the U.S. Department of Labor asking for a report on how it would re-institute oversight of state workers comp systems.

The department annually tracked states’ compliance with recommended federal standards from 1972 to 2004, following an investigation by ProPublica Inc. and National Public Radio into state workers comp programs, the article reported. (Both ProPublica and NPR reports were previously cited by myself and others in earlier posts)

Ms. Gonzalez wrote that the letter also asked whether the department needed additional authority to protect injured workers’ rights and prevent cost shifting to taxpayers via programs such as Social Security.

Chris Mandel, senior vice president of strategic solutions at Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. in Nashville, was quoted as asking, “Is that a prelude to federalization?”

His question came Tuesday at the Business Insurance Rick Management Summit, and his reply to his own question was, “Who knows?  But let’s just say they’re not happy with what they see.”

What does this mean to you?

It means Uncle Sam is watching, and he does not like what he sees going on with the expansion of opt-out legislation. Some of us already don’t like it and have not drunk the kool-aid just yet.

Let’s hope for the sake of injured workers that the feds do take a look under the microscope at the promises of opt-out and they find bacteria that can bring down the entire system, leaving injured workers where their great-grandfathers were before workers’ comp existed…out in the cold and out of luck if they got hurt.

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One thought on “Workers’ Comp Opt-Out Goes Under US Microscope

  1. Dina Padilla

    Injured workers were left out in the cold several decades ago. I have yet to to speak to one injured worker who has been treated well by any insurance company or employer & the complaints against sedgwick are horrid. We as injured workers can only hope that the feds finally do what’s best for injured workers in America. The insurance companies via employers have done enough damage to workers who have lost everything through a setup of treachery, scurrilousness all just for corporations to immensely profit off of the seriously injured or ill workers. What a racket which needs to be stopped and especially the wicked terror used on the injured workers called surveillance or sub rosa. It’s unconscionable that there exists today mechanisms that break laws that the insurance thugs get to use on injured workers. It’s a downright abomination of our constitutional rights. I never thought I could live long enough to witness such gangstalking on injured workers and or their advocates by & with the utilization of local, state & federal law enforcement. That’s not counting the other thugs hired, any warm body will do.. It’s an industry that will not be sought after because it does bring money in for the states & that is not counting into the facts of how they operate IN corporations on people who are still working. The nazi’s, kgb,stais’s, MI5, would be proud.So would the mafia.

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