highly debated Illinois State Income Tax Bill, slated to be signed by Governor
Quinn today calling for a 2% increase, does not include a change in worker's
compensation that would have left workers with a loss of rights. As part of a larger negotiation package
between the Democrats who wanted a higher increase in State Income Tax to cover
billions of dollars in deficits and Republicans that wanted to reform worker's
compensation, it appeared that workers would lose their rights.
Madigan never called the reformed Worker's Compensation Bill to vote. The house adjourned last night, the session closed.
To the very end, the trial lawyers stood in full opposition to the
bill with organized labor, doctors and hospitals. There were some
negotiations, but the discussions did not lead to an agreement.
The proposed Worker's Compensation bill would have mandated the
1.) Severe restriction on choice of
medical care. This legislation limits
the injured worker's right to choose a doctor by forcing them to visit the
doctor the company chooses first. The
"company doctor" has the financial incentive to get the employee back to work
as soon as possible, instead of as safely as possible; this means that
necessary tests may not get ordered, procedures may not be preformed, and
specialist visits may be limited.
2) Utilization review - creates
presumption in favor of
determine the best treatment for an injured worker. This is a one-size-fits-all solution to an
issue that demands individualized attention and treatment.
3) Wage Differential - Significant caps
(67 years of age or 5 years) and reviewable for economic change 4 times per
year. Wage differential is designed to preserve the earning power of an
employee injured at work by partially making up the difference in the lost
wages after the injury. These workers no
longer have the ability or opportunity to earn the wage they once did. Wage beneficial benefits help make up some of
the difference of lost wages due to a workplace injury.
4) Reduction of Medical Fee Schedule as
well as other provisions designed to deny access to doctors chosen to treat
work injuries. This legislation reduces
the medical fee schedule for procedures and services rendered by doctors and
hospitals. This reduction will result in
fewer doctors wanting to treat patients on worker's compensation.
5) This legislation is an attempt to
shift the cost of the workplace injuries to the taxpayers of
For now, the worker's
compensation after failing to pass in the Lame Duck Congress. Yet, the expectation is that we will see more
legislation in the spring that will adversely impact the rights of worker's.
I urge you to stay informed and proactive in not allowing our
from its citizens. A 2% Income Tax
increase will cause enough strain on working families and businesses. We need to protect our rights. I will keep you posted as to updates on this