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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 7, 2016

US Department of Labor Urges Major Changes in the Nation's Workers' Compensation System

As The Path to Federalization of the US workers' compensation system broadens, the US Department of Labor has published a report urging expansion of the Federal role in reforming the entire patchwork of state systems. As the Presidential Election Cycle moves ahead, the ultimate outcome will impact the the nation's struggling workers' compensation scheme. Based on historical statements both "Hillarycare" or "Trump Medical," (lead by his advisor, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich,  will focus on this issue. See  my prior blog posts below.


"State-based workers’ compensation programs provide critical support to workers who are injured or made sick by their jobs. These programs are a key component of the country’s social benefit structure and of occupational safety policy, and the only major component of the social safety net with no federal oversight or minimum national standards. This Report provides an introduction to these programs, but it also sounds an alarm: working people are at great risk of falling into poverty as a result of workplace injuries and the failure of state workers’ compensation systems to provide them with adequate benefits. 

"Despite the sizable cost of workers’ compensation, only a small portion of the overall costs of occupational injury and illness is borne by employers. Costs are instead shifted away from employers, often to workers, their families and communities. Other social benefit systems – including Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicare, and, most recently, health care provided under the Affordable Care Act – have expanded our social safety net, while the workers’ compensation safety net has been shrinking. There is growing evidence that costs of workplace-related disability are being transferred to other benefit programs, placing additional strains on these programs at a time when they are already under considerable stress. As the costs of work injury and illness are shifted, high hazard employers have fewer incentives to eliminate workplace hazards and actually prevent injuries and illnesses from occurring. Under these conditions, injured workers, their families and other benefit programs effectively subsidize high hazard employers......” 

"'If you work hard in America, you have the right to a safe workplace. And if you get hurt on the job, or become disabled or unemployed, you should still be able to keep food on the table.” –President Barack Obama

Click here to read the complete US Department of Labor Report.

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