Workers’ Compensation Reform
Senate Bill 1349 (McCarter)
From Illinois Chamber
April 14, 2011
Contact your legislator TODAY to vote YES on SB1349 and its amendment. The bill could be called today.
Read the Chicago Tribune’s editorial on Workers’ Compensation here.
SB1349 Amendment 1 is the employer-supported workers’ compensation reform legislation. The amendment has been moved to the floor and resides on 3rd Reading where it will be voted on tomorrow in the Senate.
Illinois lags the nation in reducing workers’ compensation costs. The Oregon 2010 Index ranked Illinois as the 3rd highest state for costs. We must see double digit reductions on the scale that have been experienced by similar workers’ compensation reform efforts such has been undertaken by other populous and leading economic states like Florida, Texas and California. And of course we need to be conscious of our competitive positions relative to neighboring states of Indiana, Missouri and Iowa.
In round numbers our enterprise has 60,000 employees who currently have approximately 25,000 open workers’ comp claims pending before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Indeed, our employees account for approximately a quarter of all the pending claims. Our costs are running in excess of $130-150 million a year.
Included in the amendment:
• cutting costs by stopping abuses in the system
• allowing employers to use group medical tools to control workers’ compensation medical care costs
• collective bargaining for construction industry
• commission ethics
• fraud revisions
It is important to acknowledge that SB 1349 and the amendment we are proposing be adopted today is the culmination of a great deal of work, effort, research and input from many knowledgeable and informed professionals. Indeed, it is the only bill introduced this session that gives everyone an opportunity to engage in the details. It is important that it move forward in order that everyone who is interested in this subject matter has specific statutory language to focus on and to address. So far the opponents have simply said “no”. They want no change and they have offered no specific conversations to move this legislation forward in a constructive manner.
Doing nothing is not an acceptable position.