Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reforming Workers Comp

One thing that seems to have been left out of the "health care reform" debate is workers’ compensation, which is both a burden and a benefit to employers. A worker injured on the job, that is while performing duties for an employer whether on the employer’s property or not, is provided with medical treatment by the workers compensation insurance provided by the employer, at no cost to the employee. In return, the employee may not sue the employer for that injury, even if the employer was negligent, unless the employer was deliberately trying to inflict the injury.

The system is a hotbed of lawsuits, of course, as malingerers try to con the system and insurers try to downgrade or deny payments, and it’s all exacerbated by the fact that compensation for lost wages is included in addition to medical payments.

If, however, we had universal health care, something that is not even being proposed in any of the reform proposals and which Obama says would be “too disruptive,” then we could eliminate the medical payments portion of workers’ compensation. The plan would still be needed to accommodate the issue of protecting the workers against lost wages in return for protecting the employers against lawsuits.

With universal health care, not only would employers not be burdened with providing health insurance for their workers, but I suspect that workers’ compensation insurance would be significantly less costly.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Not to mention getting the lawyers out of the equation. That was a hot button thing for some time as well. "You need an attorney to help you get all you are entitled to under the law".... yeah, for a cut of the profit, oops, compensation. Ripe for abuse, and it was plucked...

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