As you recall, since the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) was enacted in November 1980 to stop workers' compensation insurance carriers from shifting costs onto US taxpayers, there has been a constant volley of activity between the Federal government, and those who want to maintain a status quo, ie. employers, insurance carriers and "other" financially interested participants.
Congress and Medicare (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS]), in an effort to shore up the financially ailing Medicare program has been dueling with an employer/insurance company led coalition. The coalition successfully lobbied for The Smart Act in May 2003. Mandated regulations were published and the stakeholders, including the coalition partners filed multiple comments objecting to the process.
Purportedly S.2731 requires CMS to establish criteria: for review, calculations, time periods, appeals process, delivery of reimbursement, and immunity form retroactive laws/regulations.
The latest round of coalition supported legislation is yet another attempt to curb the tidal wave that continues to erode the workers' compensation program as it historically existed since 1911 in the US.
The real challenge to workers' compensation and its potential extinction, is whether the visionaries can look forward instead of backward. The future will be solutions to Medicare's fiscal integrity, the integration of the Affordable Care Act, preventive health care, safer workplaces and globalization of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system.