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Friday, September 27, 2013

Lobbying In D.C. On Behalf Of Injured Workers

Regulations were proposed recently to operationalize the The SMART act. The public comment period is ongoing. Today's post comes from guest author Paul J. McAndrew, Jr., from Paul McAndrew Law Firm.

On April 17, my colleagues from WILG (Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group) and I gathered in Washington D.C. to lobby Congressional representatives on behalf of injured workers. We discussed several bills that will affect the interests of workers in Iowa and across the United States. I had the pleasure of meeting with Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Chuck Grassley, Congressman Bruce Braley and Congressman Dave Loebsack in their offices where we discussed the following bills:

The MSP and Workers’ Compensation Settlement Agreement Act of 2012

The Akaka Amendment to S. 1789, The Post Service Reform Bill (an amendment to strip from S. 1789 those provisions that deform the Federal Employee Compensation Act).

As I explained at these meetings, the MSP and Worker’s Compensation Settlement Act of 2012 is necessary for three reasons:
(1) to bring some reasonable and understandable system to CMS’ current uncertain and regulation-less system of establishing Medicare Set-aside Plans for workers’ compensation settlements;
(2) to allow for an appeal of CMS’s MSA determination; and
(3) to bring some reasonable time limits to CMS’ process of setting the MSA required for workers’ compensation settlements.

The Akaka Amendment to strip the FECA deform provisions out of S.1789 is necessary because the FECA deform provisions wrongfully reduces monetary benefits and treats the injured worker like a fraud (mandating period independent medical examinations, vocational rehabilitation and field nurses to hound the injured worker). Workers' compensation reform is a constant threat to the rights of workers across the country. It is important that all of us who participate in the work' comp' system do our part to protect and preserve these legal rights.