Gov. Pat Quinn, who attended a news conference Thursday at Southwestern Illinois College where he announced a $19 million grant, answered questions from the News-Democrat about a federal grand jury investigation of workers' compensation:
BND: The Associated Press has reported a federal grand jury investigation into workers' compensation. What's your reaction?
Quinn: "We need to get to the bottom of everything, and I'm very happy that this is happening. Back on the 28th of January I appointed a special person to look into the whole matter of No. 1, we gotta make sure that we look at the work comp commission. To make sure everything is done right there. Any wrongdoing has got to be ferreted out. No. 2, we've got to reform the whole law in Illinois. Next week we are going to be proposing a work comp reform that I think is good for workers, as well as businesses across our state. I think it's also good for Illinois because we're an employer, one of the biggest employers in the whole state of Illinois. State government. And we want to make sure that everything is done right when it comes to workman's compensation. Those who are injured, we want to make sure they get fair compensation. At the same time, if there is any fraud, if there is any abuse, if there is any monkey business if there's any wrongdoing, it's gotta be prosecuted. I appointed someone from our Department of Insurance to oversee all this. The federal government and law enforcement is involved as well."
BND: The change that you might want to make, would it involve changing the law so that any claim would be based on a significant injury rather than any in jury that might have contributed to injury?
Quinn: "We are working with all the different folks who are involved in this whole area. Obviously, there's the workers, there's the businesses, there are the doctors, there are the insurance companies. We're listening to everybody, but ultimately we're going to have a proposal that's going to save money for our businesses and, at the same time, make sure workers' rights are protected. We also want to make sure that the system itself is fair and square. And we do want to commend the Belleville News-Democrat. I said when I was talking earlier that I lived down this way some years ago, and the paper has done a real good job at finding out the truth. And we want to get to the bottom of everything."