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Madigan upset about Rauner veto of workers’ comp insurance bill

Wednesday, Aug 23, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Gov. Bruce Rauner has sided with big insurance companies and against Illinois employers, House Speaker Michael J. Madigan said, criticizing the governor’s veto of legislation offering Illinois businesses the ability to reduce workers’ compensation costs.

“The governor’s actions show his real agenda is not to do what’s in the best interest of Illinois employers, but only to serve the interests of multibillion-dollar insurance companies and further enrich corporate CEOs,” Madigan said. “Instead of helping local employers reduce their workers’ compensation insurance costs, the governor has blocked reform to protect corporate profits. House Democrats will push to override the governor’s veto and provide relief for Illinois employers.”

Madigan and House Democrats passed House Bill 2622, which would provide employers with relief from workers’ compensation costs. While Rauner has consistently identified reduced workers’ compensation costs as a way to turn the state’s business climate around, the governor vetoed the bill last week.

The measure would have created a not-for-profit insurance provider that would be able to sell workers’ compensation insurance to businesses throughout the state. The Illinois Employers Mutual Insurance Company would offer the same quality insurance as for-profit companies, but would be committed to delivering the best value for businesses, not turning a profit for investors. This competition would also encourage for-profit insurers to offer lower-cost options for Illinois employers. Twenty other states, including Missouri, Kentucky, California and Texas, currently offer employers the option of purchasing workers’ compensation coverage through a state-run, non-profit insurer. Americans for Insurance Reform, a coalition of 100 consumer and public interest groups, studied similar state-administered workers’ compensation insurers currently in place in other states. Their report concluded that these state options operate at a high level of efficiency, resulting in “far lower expenses” and lower overhead costs.

“The governor’s veto rejected competition that would give Illinois employers the same advantages employers have in other states,” Madigan said. “House Democrats continue to try to meet the governor half way by putting forward real reforms that make Illinois a competitive place for business, but the governor continues to show that his only interest is padding the profits of insurance companies, big businesses and corporate CEOs.”


  1. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:16 pm:

    Another unforced error.

  2. - Moody's Blues - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:25 pm:

    School districts badly need a funding deal between the legislature and the governor — now. Why would the speaker lash out over the pro forma veto of a stunt bill? He got his mailer ammo when this bill passed. Is this a preview of why-I-just-can’t-agree-to-a-funding-deal?

  3. - walker - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    So Rauner’s Workers’ Comp TA item wasn’t really about cutting costs to employers?

  4. - GA Watcher - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    Right out of the IPI playbook.

  5. - Real - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:30 pm:

    It’s time for Rauner supporters to wake up. He campaigns non-stop about workers comp reform, but it’s for a hidden agenda. Another example would be his call for term limits. For someone in the business of buying elections and funding candidates term limits will greatly benefit him and his allies.

  6. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:31 pm:

    “House Democrats continue to try to meet the governor half way by putting forward real reforms that make Illinois a competitive place for business, but the governor continues to show that his only interest is padding the profits of insurance companies, big businesses and corporate CEOs.”

    Wow what a statement. I had no idea House Democrats have been meeting the Governor half way for the past two and a half years.

    The Speaker neglects to mention his deference to trial lawyers and unions on every single piece of legislation.

  7. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:32 pm:

    This is an easy one, no one likes insurance companies. Where was Todd Maisch on this bill? Hmm. Opposed. Hmm. Governor vetoed it then. This doesn’t make sense. Why would business want to help out insurance companies? Wait a minute, maybe this whole workers’ comp argument republicans have been using is false. It is okay for insurance to profit from work comp, but workers don’t deserve a break.

  8. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:37 pm:

    @Moody’s Blues-

    Suspecting some one on GOP side has been bringing up work comp in the budget meetings.

    Also, I always think it is helpful to know what Madigan is thinking/saying/cares about.

    The smarter move by Rauner would have been an amendatory veto of the bill attaching his work comp reforms.

    But I am guessing after how they botched it the last time, BTIA does not want to go near another AV move.

  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:38 pm:

    Great press release, for the ten people who will read it.

    Is the objective to actually communicate this position through the media to the public?

    That’s going to take a lot more hustle and imagination.

    That’s just the way it is.

  10. - Pundent - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:38 pm:

    Rauner’s issue was never with the people that provide workers’ compensation the workers’ compensation benefits it was with the people who receive those benefits. This veto makes that clear. It also puts a fine point on what he means by “reform”.

  11. - Real - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:39 pm:

    Lucky Pierre

    You’re speaking on Madigan, but with you being a Rauner supporter you have yet to speak on why it was good for Rauner to veto that bill. Especially since he campaigns on workers comp reform. I guess another reason for Rauner to veto the bill is that he would lose a talking point in his re-election campaign.

  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:49 pm:

    To paraphrase…

    “The Speaker’s actions show his real agenda is not to do what’s in the best interest of Illinois employers, but only to serve the interests of wealthy millionaire trial lawyers, labor bosses, and hospital CEOs.”

  13. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:53 pm:

    Rauner had to veto this legislation.

    I mean it probably only had 99% of what Rauner wanted./s

  14. - Real - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 4:54 pm:


    Are you saying a state run Insurance company does nothing to benefit employers?

  15. - igotgotgotgotnotime - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 5:10 pm:

    If Rauner’s interest were in lowering comp costs for employers, he’d sign the bill. If his interest was otherwise, he’d do what he did. He’s a wrecker.

  16. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 5:14 pm:

    Oh. Please. Now.

    The proposed State funded and owned insurance carrier would have received initial funding from a loan against the operating expenses of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to the tune of $10 million. Those operating expenses are paid by employers through an assessment levied by the Illinois Department of Insurance. That represents over 1/3 of the Commission’s budget.

    You read that right. One Third. Try operating an administrative law system with that sudden shortfall in operating expenses.

    This is the same Commission where trials are held before Arbitrators to determine benefits and awards for injured workers.

    It would have increased the time cases could be heard and create huge backlogs and extended times for claims resolutions, which have been steadily reduced under the Rauner administration. Go check out the Commission’s annual reports.

    How would that have helped the injured working man, by starving him out? By forcing him to accept 10c on the dollar so he can desperately try to feed his family?

    All this represented was a cynical poison pill or an ill thought out proposal that would have created more suffering and expense for everyone concerned.

    Not a peep of the $10 million loan in Mr. Madigan’s press release. Not a peep of this loan in any articles I’ve seen concerning this veto.

    Fortunately, the Governor saw right through that foolishness. Reform? Not. Political gamesmanship? You bet.

  17. - Hyperbolic Chamber - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 5:16 pm:

    Gee, I wonder what Rauner will do with HB 2525, which has state review of premiums…

  18. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 5:28 pm:

    =You read that right= So add $10 million to their budget and take the WC insurance company fat cats out of the game and stop them from gouging everyone.

    That would be a good thing.

  19. - Pundent - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 5:41 pm:

    =Fortunately, the Governor saw right through that foolishness. Reform? Not. Political gamesmanship? You bet.=

    But there’s a bill that’s been offered up for consideration. Where exactly is the bill that meets Rauner’s criteria for “reform”?

  20. - Perrid - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 5:47 pm:

    I’m conflicted on it. Everyone loves to vilify insurance companies, often with good reason, but there is a lot of reasons to think that WC insurance companies in IL are not making an unusual amount of profit,compared to other states. So they might not be the main cause of the high costs.

  21. - walker - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 5:57 pm:

    Louis Atsaves: Thanks for the info. That rounds out the perspective.

    This might be a good concept, with a squrirelly funding mechanism.

    I still think a not-for-profit alternative source for coverage would be a good thing overall. You couldn’t argue that it automatically kills competition. You could argue that it might offer lower costs to employers.

  22. - Ghost - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 6:00 pm:

    Perrid most of the cost is Dr fees. Many drs have thier highest fees on workers comp. the best reform here would be to limit reimbursement rates to the amounts the drs have negotiated with their health insurance comoanies.

    So dr agrees with say Blue Cross, that they will charge 85 for an exam. But the sam exam gets billed 250 to workers conp becuase there is no process to beogtiate fees. you could just reuqire drs to be limited to medicare rates or the lowest rate they negotiated with a health insurance provider.

  23. - RNUG - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 6:23 pm:

    This bill would have forced the insurance companies to srlf regulate a bit more than they have in the past, reducing their profit margins some. One of the alternatives might have been a bill specifying a WC insurance company can only have, say, 10% profit (or done other number picked out of a hat). Have to think a State run competitor would be preferable to having profits regulated.

    Would that have fixed WC in Illinois? No. But it would have addressed the comments complaint that WC insurance companies have been slow to pass through savings from the last reforms.

    And it could have been an incremental win for the Governor, serving as a stepping stone to lowering reimbursement rates next go round.

  24. - anon616xx - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 6:33 pm:

    It sounds good in theory, but then I think about the self insured health insurance plans and how far behind they are in paying those claims and can’t help but wonder if the same thing wouldn’t happen with a WC insurance company.

  25. - igotgotgotgotnotime - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 6:43 pm:

    That’s a loan from a bank against(SECURED BY) the operating expenses of the IWCC. NOT a loan of the operating expenses of the IWCC. Which would just be silly. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

  26. - Cousin Louie - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 8:35 pm:

    More grandstanding by Madigan. When Rauner does it, the posters here go crazy. When Madigan does the same thing…..crickets.

  27. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 8:38 pm:

    Bruce who?

  28. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 8:41 pm:

    –More grandstanding by Madigan. When Rauner does it, the posters here go crazy. When Madigan does the same thing…..crickets.–

    Multiple posters today with the same formula: When (X) does it people here say it’s good, when (Y) does it, people here say it’s bad.

    Was there a group rate on whiny victim training yesterday?

  29. - blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 23, 17 @ 9:54 pm:

    I have a few connections over in Missoura’ In the manufacturing business. Gonna make a few calls and see how the MEM stacks up with private WC. Will report back.

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