Category Archives: Supreme Court

Disaster Averted

Yesterday’s crushing defeat of the so-called “American Health Care Act” or AHCA, signals the end of the seven-year long attempt by the Republican Party to legislatively kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Yet, as was pointed out on one cable news network last night, it won’t stop the health insurance industry from getting the Republicans in Congress to kill parts of the law slowly by eliminating the taxes that go to pay for the coverage.

Call it “genocide by stealth”, since millions of Americans will die, as per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO’s) scoring of AHCA. If they can’t kill the law outright, the so-called “Freedom Caucus”, actually the Congressional version of the Tea Party, will kill it slowly.

Why do you think they keep saying it is a disaster and it is crumbling? It’s because they are dead set against anyone getting health care unless someone else can make a profit from selling a policy.

Then there is the other question, the one usually raised by liberals and progressives, especially those who supported Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders last year in the primaries, as to why we are the only Western country without universal coverage.

The answer is complex, but not complicated (“who knew health care was so complicated?). First, everything the government of the US has ever implemented for the benefit of people has had to pass muster with the Constitution. It either has to be covered by the Constitution directly, or implied through the taxing mechanism.

Second, the Founding Fathers never mentioned or promoted the right to health care, as the prevailing political and social philosophy of the day was concerned with freedom, liberty, and private property. It has been unclear what, if anything, was meant by the phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, let alone, the phrase, “promote the general welfare.”

Why they never mentioned health care and why other nations have it, is due to the fact that the US was founded during the first half of the period historians call, “the Enlightenment”, when the right to private property, liberty, and freedom were the topics of discussion on both sides of the Atlantic. Basically, the difference between Classical Liberalism (Conservatism) and Modern Liberalism (Liberalism) is between negative rights (the right not to be killed) versus positive rights (the right to a job, education, housing, health care, etc.)

Canada gained its limited independence from Britain nearly a hundred years after we did, and therefore was influenced by the philosophy of the second half of the Enlightenment, which stressed involvement by government in the economy.

The only time the Founders cared about providing some kind of health care plan was directed towards a particular group of citizens in the late eighteenth century, as I wrote about in this post.

What is now called the Public Health Service began as a government-sponsored, health plan for merchant sailors on ships entering and leaving US ports and on inland waterways. It was never challenged in the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, nor was it ever attacked by members of the opposition party. In fact, it was supported by both Federalists and Anti-Federalist politicians of the day.

The third reason why we don’t have universal, single-payer is because the government allowed employers to provide coverage during WWII to attract women into the workplace when the men went overseas. The UK is often cited as an example for single-payer, but what most supporters of this type of plan do not realize is that because of the devastation the UK suffered at the hands of German bombs, their health care system needed to be re-built from scratch, so the government stepped in with the NHS. Even Churchill supported it.

Fourth, we have always provided health care to certain at risk groups like the poor (Medicaid), the elderly (Medicare), and to children (CHIP), as well as to former service persons and their families (Tricare), etc. Perhaps the way to begin to get universal coverage is to merge all of these programs into one, then expand it to cover everyone else.

But for the time being, a major disaster was averted, but we should not think this is the end of the debate, nor is there victory. The battle lines are drawn, and the enemy is not surrendering. This is not a time for congratulation, but for vigilance and resolve.

 

Florida WC Rates to Rise

As reported Tuesday on Insurance Journal.com, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has proposed a nearly 20% increase in the combined average rate increase from 17.1 percent to 19.6 percent.

This rate increase is in response to the decisions in the Westphal and Castellanos cases from the Florida Supreme Court last month and in April.

The Westphal  decision has prompted NCCI to propose a 2.2 percent projected increase. The court reinstated the 260-week limitation on temporary total benefits, which was limit before the 1994 reform. The Castellanos decision has prompted NCCI to propose a 15 percent projected increase. And a 1.8 percent projected rate increase related to updates within the Florida Workers’ Compensation Health Care Provider Reimbursement Manual (HCPR Manual) per Senate Bill 1402. The manual became effective on July 1, 2016.


I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

I am also looking for a partner who shares my vision of global health care for injured workers.

I am also willing to work with any health care provider, medical tourism facilitator or facility to help you take advantage of a market segment treating workers injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is going through dramatic changes, and may one day be folded into general health care. Injured workers needing surgery for compensable injuries will need to seek alternatives that provide quality medical care at lower cost to their employers. Caribbean and Latin America region preferred.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Will accept invitations to speak or attend conferences.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com.

Transforming Workers’ Comp Blog is now viewed all over the world in over 250 countries and political entities. I have published 300 articles and counting, many of them re-published in newsletters and other blogs.

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Florida State Supreme Court Upholds Law’s Validity

Following up on what I reported on earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Florida unanimously decided not to review Daniel Stahl v. Hialeah Hospital, according to Business Insurance’s Stephanie Goldberg.

In my previous post, I mentioned that the 1st District Court of Appeal had ruled that attorney fee schedules violated state law.

But the Court of Appeal also ruled back in March in the above referenced case, that the workers comp system was an adequate exclusive remedy, Ms. Goldberg said in her article.

The State Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction to review the decision, and said in its ruling that, “after further consideration and hearing oral argument in this case, we have determined that we should exercise our discretion and discharge jurisdiction.”

So for the time being, it would seem that Florida’s Workers’ Compensation law is constitutional, and until other cases that are pending are resolved (see my articles, “Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel“, “Update on Constitutionality of Work Comp in Florida“, and “Advocacy Group Petitions Florida Supreme Court to Review Work Comp Constitutionality“), Florida’s injured workers will still have something to protect them.


I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

I am also looking for a partner who shares my vision of global health care for injured workers.

I am also willing to work with any health care provider, medical tourism facilitator or facility to help you take advantage of a market segment treating workers injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is going through dramatic changes, and may one day be folded into general health care. Injured workers needing surgery for compensable injuries will need to seek alternatives that provide quality medical care at lower cost to their employers. Caribbean and Latin America region preferred.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Will accept invitations to speak or attend conferences.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com.

Transforming Workers’ Blog is now viewed all over the world in 250 countries and political entities. I have published nearly 300 articles, many of them re-published in newsletters and other blogs.

Share this article, or leave a comment below.

Courts Striking Down Work Comp Laws

Coming back around to the constitutionality of aspects of the various state workers’ comp laws, an article by David De Paolo last week, suggested that rather than corporate America dismantling workers’ comp, it is the courts who are actually doing so.

David says that state supreme courts will be the ones doing the dismantling this year, piece by piece.

A week and a half ago, I wrote that the Oklahoma WC statute relating to the permanent partial disability deferral provisions of the state’s workers compensation statutes of 2013, was struck down in a 7-2 decision.

This decision was first reported in The Oklahoman.

And David also reported in the same article, that the 1st District Court of Appeals in Florida said that the state’s statutory limits on the payment of attorneys for injured workers was unconstitutional.

So while ProPublica and others rightly or wrongly accuse corporate America, the Koch Brothers, ALEC, ARAWC, the Illuminati, Martians, and anyone else we left out, it is the men and women who wear black robes who are striking down the workers’ comp laws in their states.

Is this a coincidence? Is this a vast conspiracy of right-wing jurists and those who put them on the bench? That is hard to say because we don’t know these people at all, who appointed them, and what their individual political motives are.

But if these decisions are any indication, the courts are ruling more in favor of injured workers, than their employers.

If you read De Paolo’s article and the cases linked to them, as well as the OK case, you will see that the courts are generally siding with workers.

What does this mean?

Well, it is too early to tell, but if these trends continue this year, 2016 may be the year the injured worker gets a little break. But we still have laws, regs, and rules in place that are holding back workers from getting the best health care available, at lower cost, no matter where that happens to be, even if it is not within the borders of their state or the country.

And that is something courts in the future will have to decide.

Oklahoma WC Statute Struck Down

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma struck down yesterday parts of that state’s Workers’ Compensation law.

In a 7-2 decision, the Court’s ruling invalidated the permanent partial disability deferral provisions of the state’s workers compensation statutes of 2013.

Justices on the Court said that deferring permanent partial disability payments if an injured worker returns to work was unconstitutional.

According to Justice Noma Gurich, who wrote for the majority, “an injured employee who returns to work receives no compensation for the physical injury sustained and no compensation for a reducing in future earning capacity, upending the entire purpose of the workers’ compensation system,

Two other Justices, Tom Colbert and Joseph Watt,said that the decision does not go far enough “to cure the Legislature’s unconstitutional scheme” and hinting that other provisions could have been tackled in the ruling.

The decision that led to the Court’s finding, involved four cases filed with the state’s Workers Compensation Commission by workers who were injured on the job.

In at least one case, officials improperly relied on American Medical Association guidelines for evaluating the extent of permanent impairment to a worker, according to the article.

An attorney who represented two workers in the case said that, “it is another example of the court having to correct a poorly written law.”

However, the president and CEO of the State Chamber of Oklahoma said that he was disappointed with the decision and believes the court should defer to the Legislature.

“Oklahoma workers and employers both benefit from an administrative rather than court-based system,” Fred Morgan said in a statement.

Both groups are harmed when the court continues to act like an unelected legislature, overturning the will of the people through their elected representatives.

Morgan’s comments are typical of Republican and conservative views when issues such as these are decided against them and their right-wing agenda, which is to return the nation to the 19th century, economically and politically.

They decry “activist judges” when decisions are rendered that upend their reactionary ideology and goals, but declare that the Courts are carrying out the will of the people when they rule in their favor.

What is the bottom-line here?

Workers’ compensation is increasingly being challenged, yet the industry itself refuses to yield to new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing improvements in the treatment and care of injured workers, and allows the Courts or legislatures to pick apart aspects of the laws that either hurt workers or hurt employers, but never do they consider what the workers want.

Instead, some are content to put their words in workers’ mouths, and declaring that injured workers will not seek surgery outside the US. Were they ever asked? No, and if it was up to many in the industry, it never will. So things will only get worse, not better.

Advocacy Group Petitions Florida Supreme Court to Review Work Comp Constitutionality

As I reported three weeks ago in “Breaking News on ACA and Exclusive Remedy”, the issue of constitutionality of Florida’s workers’ comp system was settled by the 3rd District Court of Appeal.

However, Stephanie Goldberg reported today in Business Insurance that an advocacy group has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to review the case that challenges the constitutionality of the state’s workers’ comp system.

The Florida Workers’ Advocates filed an appeal with the Court to review The State of Florida v. Florida Workers’ Advocates et al.

The case questions whether workers’ comp is an adequate exclusive remedy for injured workers. This issue was discussed in my previous articles, “Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel” and “Update on Constitutionality of Work Comp in Florida“.

As far as Florida Workers’ Advocates are concerned, the issue of the constitutionality of workers’ comp has not been settled, so expect more on this in the future.

What does it mean for you?

Probably nothing, because the Supreme Court will probably uphold the District Court of Appeal ruling that the plaintiffs had no legal standing to challenge the constitutionality, and that will settle the matter.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.

Breaking News on ACA and Exclusive Remedy

There are two news items to report about subjects I wrote about previously. The first item concerns the ACA, the second concerns the issue of exclusive remedy in Florida.

Regarding the first item, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in a 6-3 decision, upheld the Affordable Care Act subsidies under the federal exchanges.

Last week, I wrote an article, “SCOTUS Decision Could Benefit Medical Travel for Workers’ Comp“, where I said that James Moore believed that should the Court decide for the plaintiff, workers’ comp claims departments might get more traffic than they can handle.

This would have been one other way in which offering medical travel for workers’ comp would occur, but there are other legal challenges, and Congress may make changes as well.

So while the Court has ruled for now that the subsidies can stay, it remains to be seen if parts of the law remain, or if it is repealed completely, especially if a Republican wins in 2016.

The second news item, exclusive remedy in Florida, was discussed originally back in August 2014, in an article called, “Update on Constitutionality of Work Comp in Florida“. This was a follow up to an earlier article, “Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel

As reported today by Workers’ Comp Insider, a three-judge panel of the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal overturned a ruling that challenged the concept of exclusive remedy.

In their decision, the Court ruled that plaintiffs did not have legal standing and the case was moot. The appeals court did not weigh in on whether the workers-compensation system was constitutional.

David De Paolo wrote today that the question is still open, and that the organizations pushing for constitutional change are continuing to fight.

So for now, both the subsidies under the ACA and the concept of exclusive remedy in workers’ comp in Florida have passed judicial review and live on another day.

But as we are seeing with the Confederate flag issue throughout the South, there are “bitter enders” who will continue to press on despite what any court rules, even the highest court in the nation.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.