Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » How - and why - workers’ comp reform passed
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
How - and why - workers’ comp reform passed

Monday, Jun 6, 2011

* The AP has a tick-tock story on how workers’ comp reform finally passed

With Republicans still firmly opposed, he and other backers focused on rounding up votes from six of seven Democrats who didn’t support the bill the first time around. Two lawmakers who voted for the bill on its first try would not be present for the final vote.

Bradley, Raoul, Madigan and state insurance director Michael McRaith approached them all, trying to allay concerns that had thwarted the bill in the first round.

Yes, they told one, workers would still be able to get a second opinion from doctors. Yes, they said, your constituents would still be allowed to choose their own doctors. Yes, they informed another, the bill thoroughly protects injured workers’ rights.

But Madigan’s power to persuade _ through his influence over the legislative process, political fundraising, and ultimately his members’ political fates _ proved critical. The speaker supported the workers’ comp bill at least partly as a helping hand to business in the wake of the state’s income tax increase, which Democrats had sponsored.

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column looks at the same subject

In all the years I’ve covered Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, he has never allowed his chamber’s Republican minority leader to best him. A minority leader might score a win here and there, but those victories are always short-lived. The wins are almost akin to a challenge to Madigan’s manhood itself, and they are never allowed to stand.

And so it was yet again with workers’ compensation reform. House Republican Leader Tom Cross locked his caucus into a position against the bill the Sunday before the spring session adjourned and the bill appeared to die.

Indeed, the House Republicans surprised many by making no attempt whatsoever to even try and hide their real motives for voting lockstep against the workers’ comp bill. Simply put, the proposal harmed the interests of the Illinois State Medical Society by mandating a 30 percent cut in medical reimbursement rates. Republican after Republican rose during debate to decry the proposed medical reimbursement cuts. The Medical Society has historically given a ton of campaign cash to the House Republicans. If the Democrats simply reduced the cuts down to the Medical Society-approved 20 percent level, the Republicans more than implied, there’d be a deal.

The Speaker was in no mood for a deal. Instead, he pulled out all the stops, as only he can. The legislation wound up passing with 62 votes on the last night of session, even though two of Madigan’s 64 members were out of town.

The bill also picked up a lone House Republican supporter. Rep. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) had wanted to vote for the bill on Sunday, but was browbeaten into submission the first time around.

The House Republicans might ultimately regret their political maneuver. While the Republican leadership managed to keep all their other members off the legislation, support for the bill by most Senate Republicans undercuts their “official” position that the reforms don’t go nearly far enough.

Illinois Chamber President Doug Whitley didn’t have many kind words for the bill in the days leading up to the vote, but he showered praise on the legislation after it cleared the House on the second try.

“I’m glad it passed,” Whitley said after the bill was finally approved, running through several positive aspects of the legislation. Whitley’s group has been pushing workers’ comp reform for more than two years, and the obviously exhausted business leader said he was relieved this phase was finally over.

Whitley said it would probably take two years for the reforms to work its way through the system. By the next gubernatorial election, he said, the results should be clear. If they work, then that’s great. If they don’t work, then he vowed to make workers’ comp reform an issue in the 2014 campaign.

Whitley singled out Senate President John Cullerton as the “hero” of the moment. Cullerton has been pushing to reform the system since last fall.

While Cullerton certainly deserves praise for his persistence, he wasn’t alone. Both sponsors, Rep. John Bradley and Kwame Raoul, guided the talks to a conclusion. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped flip some recalcitrant Democrats and Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration never let up the pressure.

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association CEO Greg Baise and Illinois Retail Merchants Association President Dave Vite rolled with the punches, never panicked and always stayed focused on reaching an agreement that could realistically pass both chambers, even when other business leaders abandoned the quest. Both Baise and Vite have a policy of creating majorities in both chambers which support their groups’ interests, rather than backing a single party over the other. It worked again.

It’s also difficult not to point out that if the House Republicans, doctors, unions and trial lawyers had agreed to a compromise proposed back in January, they would’ve taken a far lighter hit than they did last week.

That earlier proposed compromise cut medical reimbursement rates by just 15 percent (half the final total) and included few of the other reforms contained in the current bill. The groups thought they could fight off any changes at all if they held together.

The problem with their logic is they failed to consider that Madigan would make passing a reform bill a point of honor. His personal constitution does not allow him to be bested by the GOP. And in the end, he won again.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - the Patriot - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 8:01 am:

    I am not so sure Madigan came out on top of this one. In 05, he shoved reform down everyones throat under what was hailed as an “agreed bill.” 5 years later when demands for reform resurfaced, the fact business eventually took what they could in 05 was used against them.

    Articles still refer to the 05 mugging of business as a pro-business bill. Madigan pinned himself into a corner vowing for meaningful reform. Because of his committment and what happened in 05, he had to pass reform without republicans, or give them everything.

    He just did business a free favor and got no concession from republicans this was a good deal.

    I do commend Mr. Madigan for pushing some reform through, but this does nothing to really put us on a level playing field with neighboring states. It also does nothing to address the concerns at Menard and state facilities that started this conversation.

    I am also concerned with how much of a beating doctors will take. Most of them are very wealthy, but in rural communities the payor mix if very poor. Substantial portions of the population is on medicaid. Those bills are not getting paid by the state. Work comp premium billing off set that loss. Now you are not going to pay the bills and cut work comp. Cutting one without fixing the other will cost us doctors long term.

    It is not that they can’t make money, but they can go to another state and make more.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 8:12 am:

    For a big-time lobby, the docs really overplayed their hand, thinking the minority House caucus was an ace in the hole.

    It’s not like Madigan has never put more votes on a bill the second time around.

  3. - Leave a light on George - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 8:19 am:

    Belleville News Democrat reporting that CMS had not one but two studies done that said all the carpel tunnel claims at Menard prison were not caused by operating the locks. However the state continued to pay the claims.

  4. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 9:31 am:

    ===However the state continued to pay the claims. ==

    Yeah, because there’s a thing called an order to do so.

  5. - the Patriot - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 9:40 am:

    This goes to the heart of why Madigan gets a kudos for a draw, not a win.

    It all goes to causation. Although most occupational studies will say those activities don’t “cause” repetitive trauma injuries, the studies are not used in IL work comp. They are routinely dismissed.

    In IL, if the activity causes or aggravates, it is compensable. That means if work could be a 1% factor it is a winner for the worker. Not many doctors will say the work would not affect someone with carpal tunnel at all.

    The BND can keep writing the articles, but it is still the law. If Madigan meant to continue to let workers fleece employers with injuries that were not mostly caused by work, then he did get a win.

  6. - Robert - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 12:04 pm:

    A friend owns a small business that employs 50-100 people. He constantly complains about the business environment in Illinois, blaming the Democrats in general for everything. Workers compensation was his favorite issue to complain about.

    I’m sending him Rich’s column.

  7. - Leave a light on George - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 1:27 pm:

    I have filled out many a w/c supervisor’s forms. They ask you to specifically describe what job related task was the employee performing when they were injured. The one claim that caused me the most aggravation with CMS was when one of the law enforcement officers I supervised blew out an achilles tendon while chasing a felon. Can’t believe the crap I had to go through to convince them it was job related. Yet, they don’t even put up a fight when their own studies say the claims at Menard are bogus?

  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===Yet, they don’t even put up a fight when their own studies say the claims at Menard are bogus? ===

    Where did you see that?

  9. - Leave a light on George - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 2:10 pm:

    From the BND article.

    “But instead of challenging the taxpayer-paid settlements — which ranged from $20,000 to $100,000 — CMS continued to approve payments to guards for repetitive trauma. They turned over copies of the 2008 report to the Illinois Department of Corrections and attorney general’s office, then filed it with no investigation.”

    Now quit bugging me. I’m trying to follow the Blago cross examination!

  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 6, 11 @ 2:24 pm:

    Read the rest of the article. That’s just a really weak lede.

    But, yeah, everybody seems to be watching that live feed. Traffic is way up, comments are way down. The trainwreck is fascinating people.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Rauner raised the most small-dollar contributions, Pawar raised the highest percentage then dropped out
* Former budget hostages still struggling to survive
* Pritzker makes Forbes list again while Illinoisans' discretionary income ranks lowest in Midwest
* CTU's Karen Lewis reveals she had a stroke last week
* Governor's race fundraising tops $100 million
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Republican AG candidate claims she was warned to make sure her brakes were working
* Rauner touts higher education advantages despite damage caused by impasse
* Biss again demands that Pritzker and Kennedy release their tax returns
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





* 41st District senator says hello - The Homer Ho.....
* Column: Rauner's campaign fund transfers over $.....
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd.....
* In fourth decade in office, Madigan finally goe.....
* Again Illinois’ richest person, Ken Griffin inc.....
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd.....
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd.....
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd.....
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd.....

* Bond set for woman who crashed into pond, left son behind
* Audit: $316,000 gone after Zeigler ex-treasurer indicted
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd headquarters
* Historic bell returned to Springfield church after theft
* 10 things to know as the NBA season gets underway
* Illinois sees teen traffic deaths drop by half in decade
* Illinois sees teen traffic deaths drop by half in decade
* Former Chicago detective ordered to testify in murder case
* Helmet maker vows fight against Hernandez concussion lawsuit
* Not having to get door 1 plus of new status, Kagan says

* Pritzker makes list of richest Americans; Gov. Rauner doesn't
* Pritzker makes list of richest Americans, Gov. Rauner doesn't
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd headquarters
* New University of Illinois medical school to grant full scholarships
* 'Johnny Appleseed' trees to mark Illinois bicentennial
* Statehouse Insider: A poor rating, but sorta good news
* John Schmidt appointed to appellate court
* Illinois 200th birthday celebration kicks off Dec. 3 in Springfield
* Christian County GOP leader to challenge Andy Manar for state Senate seat
* AFSCME: Illinois prison-inmate assaults on officers up 51 percent

* Sinclair may sell TV stations for up to $1 billion to satisfy FCC
* Ken Griffin is Illinois' richest resident
* Chicago officially struts its stuff for Amazon
* U of I's new med school taking applications
* What New York can deliver Amazon

* Oddsmakers: Fred Hoiberg, John Fox next Chicago coaches to be fired
* Richie Garcia’s American eel: One-of-a-kind Fish of the Week
* Kyle Fuller becoming a difference-maker for solid Bears defense
* KADNER: Why I nod in agreement when Trump slams Obamacare
* Urban Meyer’s wife, Shelley, apologizes over Colin Kaepernick tweet
* Leading senators say they have outline of health insurance deal
* Familiar struggles, familiar solutions for Blackhawks power play
* Two of the aviation cops who dragged doctor off United flight fired
* Two arrested after crashing, running away from police in NW Indiana
* Uber and Lyft get a reprieve on higher fees

* A Skokie cop could have arrested a teen who kept sneaking into a gym. Instead, he bought him a membership
* How the Cubs can win Game 3 of the NLCS vs. Dodgers
* Trump to call families of slain soldiers, questions Obama
* Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lawrence join the chorus of women sharing Hollywood abuse stories
* Diving ban forces Hinsdale Central and South teams on the road again
* Chicago named top city in Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards list
* An extra $1.10 per month in phone fees in Emanuel budget
* Senate moves ahead on GOP budget that's key to tax reform
* Soccer helped Niles North captain Amcy Odicho assimilate to U.S.
* How a group of Florida tomato growers could help derail NAFTA

» WBEZ Investigation: CPS Secretly Overhauled Special Education At Students’ Expense
» How's The Illinois Economy? For Rauner Administration, Depends On The Audience
» Online Locator Tool Aims to Make Recycling Easier
» State Week: Prison Assaults, Pawar's Exit
» Lawmakers Urged To Override Life Insurance Veto
» Ameya Pawar Ends Campaign for Governor
» Union Says Prison Inmate Assaults On Guards Up 51%
» Union Says Attacks On Prison Guards Are Up
» Illinois Issues: Land of Lincoln, New Jersey Compete For Worst Fiscal Condition
» Chicago Adds 376 Cops, 594 To Go

* Pritzker makes list of richest Americans; Gov. Rauner doesn't
* Pritzker on, Rauner off list of richest Americans
* Chicago officially submits bid for Amazon's 2nd headquarters
* Hugh Hewitt: Trump's baked-in support
* New University of Illinois medical school to grant full scholarships
* 'Johnny Appleseed' trees to mark Illinois bicentennial
* Statehouse Insider: A poor rating, but sorta good news
* Our View: Time to explore a new path for economic development in Sangamon County
* Our View: It’s time to explore a new path for economic development in Sangamon County
* Andy Shaw: Critical redistricting case from Wisconsin could impact Illinois

* Testing continues at former Alton Downtown post office site; cleanup awaits
* Area Trick-or-Treat times
* Noon update: Sunny, Hayman visitation and too fat for prison
* Road work: Ireland Grove closed for work 10/17/17
* SIUE’s McBride retires as dean of Library Information Services
* Carbondale Fire Department to host open house, dedication of new firetruck
* Jackie Joyner-Kersee is first woman to win Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award
* Listen to the scam call
* This police captain wants you to call a phone scammer – and give him your two cents' worth
* Chic Soiree serves vegan and gluten-free treats in the West End of Davenport

* Camping World expands partnership with Major League Baseball
* Public ideas pouring in for Naperville's 5th Avenue
* Volunteers to plan 500 irises in Island Lake
* Volunteers help bring in harvest at Kline Creek Farm
* Former coroner's perjury trial delayed until next year

* Measure extends term of FSOC independent m...
* Dissident artist Ai Weiwei and US Rep. Ran...
* Rep. Randy Hultgren announces 2017 Congres...
* Democratic 14th Congressional District can...
* GOP congressmen say Rauner 'let down' Illi...
* Democratic candidates square off in Kendal...
* Hultgren 'disappointed' about potential re...
* Rival: Kinzinger not conservative - MyWebT...
* Smith, Hultgren praise House passage of bi...
* Naperville's Lauren Underwood to run for R...

* Senators ask FASB to require multinational......
* Moral issue at stake with immigration and ......
* NFL commissioner sends letter on criminal ......

* SWEET: Trump punts on Senate 'blue slips' ......

* Ald. Pawar Discusses What's Next on Chicago Tonight
* #MeToo
* Chicago named the rat capital of the country for the third consecutive year, and other news
* Black Ensemble Theater To Host 17th Annual Black Excellence Awards
* EXTRA: Rauner "gettin' his kicks" down Route 66; or at least a part of it
* Should we respect people who want to use “Merry Christmas” as a weapon?
* Community Alert: Car Thefts In 19th District
* "Carrie 2: The Rage" Now On Stage At The Arkham Theater
* The Daily Show live, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective

* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

* Vine’s founders are back with HQ, a live trivia game show app
* [TA Deals] Save 88% on a VPN One Click lifetime subscription
* SelfMade helps businesses post better photos online
* ZTE’s new foldable smartphone is actually going on sale next month
* ZTE announces the Axon M with a folding screen, exclusively through AT&T
* Sony Xperia XZ1 starts at $613 after latest discount, XZ1 Compact available as low as $542
* New Rumor Suggests Apple Pay Will Launch in Sweden Next Week [Updated]

* Adolfo 'grew up,' hit his stride in 2017
* The top 11 White Sox winners of 2017
* Mid-October White Sox fall ball update
* Inbox: Has White Sox Draft strategy evolved?
* Podcast: 2017 White Sox Outfielders Review
* Sox Century: Oct. 15, 1917
* Sporcle Saturday: White Sox Postseason Home Runs

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller