Workers’ compensation issues to be revisited in 2006

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 27, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Prior to AB 227 (2003, Juan Vargas, D-San Diego), SB 228 (2004, Richard Alarcon, D-Sun Valley) and SB 899 (2004, Charles Poochigian, R-Fresno), the workers’ compensation system in California was in dire straits.  California’s medical costs were among the highest in the nation, return-to-work rates were among the lowest in the nation, abuse and fraud was rampant and the permanent disability schedule was based solely on subjective information.  The system of providing workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers in California was simply broken. 

Since the last reforms in 2004, rates have fallen significantly – down 37.7 percent according to John Garamendi, California’s Insurance Commissioner.  Businesses have seen an increase in the number of insurance companies willing to write workers’ compensation policies in California, providing much needed competition.  The reforms are working.

Despite the fact that the reforms have achieved their purposes – to bring objectivity to Permanent Disability rating, to reduce unneeded medical care, to reduce skyrocketing costs, etc. – there is an effort to roll back the reforms.  Some legislators who voted for the reforms claim they did not know that the results would be this drastic and some unions are saying that they would not have gone neutral on the bill if they knew the extent of the reforms.

Everything will be up for discussion in this coming legislative session.  However, CMTA will advocate that the reforms are working as they were intended and that any attempt to roll back or revise reforms is premature considering the lack of appropriate and reliable data.   
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