California's much heralded reform of out-of-control worker's compensation insurance rates may be tinkered with. Today's Los Angeles Times reports that a coalition of labor groups, doctors, and lawyers are making the case that the reform went too far in the direction of making it difficult for workers to claim compensation in the event that they are injured on the job. To bolster their claims, the reform-the-reformers say that the first comprehensive study of workers since the reform bills were signed into law show that hurt workers have a hard time qualifying for compensation--even in cases where the claims seems fairly legitimate. State and national business groups are fighting back, saying that to undo a measure that California entrepreneurs begged for would be perceived in the private sector as a slap in the face.
Caught in the middle? You guessed it: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was embarrassed in November when voters rejected a raft of ballot measures that he supported. Worker's comp reform has been the governor's "signature" legislative achievement, the LA Times says. Now that he is politically vulnerable, is it possible that he would reconsider? The political pressure on him is likely to be enormous: a group called Votersinjuredatwork.org is said by the paper to be mobilizing disabled workers in each state legislative district to lobby their representatives to change the system in a way that would favor employees. But one state policitian from Fresno, who wrote one of the original reform bills, confidently told Times' reporter Marc Lifsher that the nascent re-reform effort is "a non-starter."
Last updated: Jan 3, 2006
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman