* From BusinessInsurance.com…
Stephen Schneider, Midwest region vice president at the American Insurance Association in Deerfield, Illinois, said the insurance community is optimistic that Illinois lawmakers will have continued discussions during the current session about workers comp reforms, including some ideas the AIA would like to see proposed.
Those include controls on physician dispensing of medication to workers comp claimants and tying the state’s workers comp medical fee schedule to a percentage of Medicare pricing for similar services.
“It’s going to be day-by-day through the end of session and perhaps longer,” Mr. Schneider said of the chances of action on comp-related legislation.
PCI’s Mr. Junkas agreed that workers comp reforms may still be on the table for Illinois, saying many political experts expect the legislative session to extend beyond its scheduled May 31 adjournment.
“There’s going to be continual discussions ongoing, and I think workers compensation’s going to remain in that mix,” Mr. Junkas said.
* I agree that workers’ comp reform needs to be on the table and could actually be resolved eventually. But, man, things aren’t going all that well these days. From yesterday’s Senate hearing on workers’ comp reform…
Greg Baise of the Illinois Manufacturers Association said workers’ compensation costs hang “like an anvil around the necks of job creators in Illinois. We’ve seen the loss of 300,000 manufacturing jobs since the turn of the century, and reforming workers’ compensation is the first step in making our state more attractive.”
Several times during the debate tempers became short, particularly when Barickman said that the decisions of other states could be “used as a template” for Illinois lawmakers. He cited changes in Florida, Oregon and Indiana.
“Where is your proposal for us to consider?” Barickman asked of committee chairman Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago.
“Mine was a 2011 package that we negotiated with employers at the table, the right way,” Raoul responded, his voice rising in anger. “As far as these working groups, senator, I brought up the same points that I’m bringing up today. They were not addressed, senator.”