For the first post of the new year, I want to return to a well-worn subject, thanks to Joe Paduda, who published his predictions for workers’ comp last week: Opt-Out in workers’ comp.
In part 2 of Joe’s predictions, he predicted that Opt-Out will not gain any traction, and that Opt-Out is a solution in search of a problem. By that, Joe means that workers’ comp is working well overall, and that costs are under control, employers don’t see it as an issue, and there is no political constituency that wants to make it happen.
Joe rightly points out that the problems facing work comp are tiny compared to other issues state legislatures are dealing with — such as taxes, school funding, gerrymandering, Medicaid expansion, rural hospital funding, industrial and economic development, natural disaster preparation and recovery.
However, Joe’s friend, Jennifer Wolf Horesjh, Executive Director of the IAIABC (International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions) believes that advocates are working diligently to promote Opt-Out/Non-subscription.
In my comment to Joe, I said the following: “The Koch Brothers and the companies behind ARAWC are free-market, libertarians who don’t want government social insurance programs like work comp. You are probably correct that it won’t happen, but that won’t stop them from trying.”
Whether Joe is right or wrong in his prediction, will have to wait until the end of this year. But since it is only a prediction, time will tell if Opt-Out moves forward. Thus the title of this piece has a question mark, because we don’t know what the final word is on the subject.