Normally I focus my postings on cases or the law because my goal is to help you, the worker. Knowledge is power and there is a ton of bad information out there.
But today’s post is on Governor elect, Bruce Rauner and some of the things I’ve been reading about his desire to revamp the Illinois workers’ compensation system.
We have had two overhauls in the last 10 years, the most recent being drastic changes that happened three years ago. The amount spent per case has been drastically reduced, although insurance companies haven’t fully passed on their savings to businesses (although rates are down over 18%, saving Illinois businesses more than $450 million).
What I’ve been reading and hearing is that Governor Rauner wants to reduce the Illinois minimum wage. And if he keeps it or raises it, it will only be if we can gut the workers’ compensation system although he hasn’t offered any specifics other than to parrot things that are important to his base such as “tort reform.”
I’m not a very political person as I think both parties tend to do a terrible job. But part of what makes them awful is that they just say things that sound good versus really understanding an issue. For example, I’ve read two things that Bruce Rauner has said need to happen in Illinois work comp. One is not allowing for payments for injuries that happen while you are commuting to work. The second is requiring causation to prove a work related injury.
Well, these two things already exist. If you work at Jewel for example and get hurt while driving to work, you can not claim workers’ compensation. In fact, you could slip on ice in their parking lot and it probably wouldn’t be covered unless they owned the facility. The only commuters that get covered for their work injuries are traveling employees. So if you drive a truck and are in an accident then yes you will get benefits, but that’s part of your job.
Beyond that, in every workers’ comp case in IL, you need to have what is called a causal connection statement. That’s a statement from your doctor that your job contributed to your injury. To imply that this isn’t needed or that if you have any injury you can say it’s work related is so beyond false that it makes me want to scream.
I am a big believer in honesty always being the best policy and when politicians (in both parties) say things that score points, but aren’t true, it makes my skin crawl.
And when they are willing to say things that aren’t true, that leads me to believe that their goal is to appease their base, facts be damned. The reform from three years ago has done what it was intended to do. But the wave of politics right now isn’t compromise or common sense, it’s to grab everything you possibly can while you are in power.
So that is why I am worried Rauner will try to screw workers. We’ll see what happens and be watching with interest. But if you think your case has been challenging now, you probably won’t believe what is coming.