It is important for Illinois to not get sidetracked from advancing true workers compensation reform with debunked notions about insurance rate regulation as advanced by Christopher T. Hurley, president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. (News-Democrat Letter to the Editor: “Weak oversight of workers’ comp insurers should be Illinois’ focus”)
Workers compensation remains a key component in the state budget debate and shifting focus from real reform to counterproductive ideas like 1970s, Soviet-style insurance rate regulation will only hurt the workers the trial bar claims it represents.
That political rhetoric will not change the underlying costs in the workers compensation system. However, unnecessary rate regulation will add costs to our already bankrupt state. The focus of reform should be on helping injured workers get healthy and advancing effective reforms that address underlying costs for Illinois businesses.
Reforms such as a specific drug formulary with evidence-based treatment guidelines and a Medicare-based fee schedule will control costs while being fair to workers.
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Jeffrey Junkas, assistant vice president, State Government Relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America