March 17, 2015
Over the past decade, state after state has been dismantling their workers’ compensation systems. Since 2003, 33 states have either reduced benefits or made it harder for injured workers to qualify for them. Florida has cut benefits to its most severely disabled workers by almost two-thirds since 1994.
In California, insurers can now deny medical care to someone already receiving benefits based on the opinions of doctors who never see the patient. Oklahoma has cut benefits to the third-lowest in the nation and limited them to two years for temporarily disabled workers. Its 2013 law was drafted by a drilling-company lawyer and a lobbyist for the state Chamber of Commerce. While “high costs” are the main justification for the changes, employers are paying the lowest rates for workers' comp insurance since the 1970s, and in 2013, insurers had their most profitable year in over a decade. "They call them reforms," says Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). "That's a real insult to workers." Read more