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Workers’ Compensation “Reforms” are Corporate Welfare

Window Washer Doing Dangerous Job

When companies pay injured workers less, something has to make up the difference.

This difference is made up by food stamps, social security disability, and various forms of medical assistance.  Who pays for these things?  Taxpayers.

Why do taxpayers pay for things that companies should pay for?  In most cases, the companies are profitable.  In many cases, the companies are hugely profitable.

Laws get passed.  According to ProPublica, 33 states have cut workers’ comp benefits or made it harder to qualify in the last 13 years. Non-equitable reforms are reasoned by the idea that injured workers should get back to work and not be dependent on the system.

OK, fine.  What happens then?  Whole companies become dependent on free money from the government.

Most voters, simply speaking, are too simple to see what is happening.  Much of corporate America relies on this simpleness.

It is corporate welfare. There is no other way to look at it.

Maryland Workers’ Compensation

Maryland workers’ comp is better than many other states.  We do not have the draconian reforms that states like Oklahoma do.  Despite the fact that companies have seen their average comp insurance premium more than cut in half over the last 27 years, laws have, according to ProPublica, been only lightly negative for the injured worker.

We are still a choose your own doctor state. Yes, in Maryland you can choose your own doctor for workers’ compensation matters, assuming the doc takes workers comp. Some insurance adjusters either think the opposite or posture the opposite.

Despite having horribly low payouts for some injuries (like fingers), Maryland has reasonable rates (comparatively) for most comp injuries, and high rates for a few. (An example: Maryland has a high rate of compensation for permanent disability on foot injury cases.)

Someone Pays

When workers’ get hurt on the job, someone pays.  That’s life.  The worker always pays.  When workers’ compensation laws work properly, the employer and the employer’s insurer alleviate much of the burden. When workers’ compensation laws favor the employer and insurer too heavily, others pay. These others are you and me. It’s the taxpayer who pays for the injured worker. As if we didn’t have enough to pay for, now we have to pay for some company too cutthroat, cheap, and, often, corrupt, to pay it’s own tab.

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