There is no denying that the workers’ compensation system is flawed. This doesn’t come as a shock or surprise to most people, especially those working within the system itself. What to do about existing problems in the system is another matter. Finding a common ground regarding what can be done to fix the system appears to be creating controversy on its own.
North Carolina has a pending bill which will reform the workers’ compensation laws in that state. In response to the the proposed changes outlined in the bill, a grassroots campaign called Protect N.C. Workers has been launched. The goal of this campaign is to increase public awareness of the pending bill. The campaign also hopes to educate workers and elected officials on the impact this bill would have on the rights of injured workers.
There is a real concern that legislation reducing workers’ compensation benefits will greatly reduce the protection and coverage to which injured workers are eligible. The proposed changes will impact taxpayers as programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid absorb the cost of caring for workers’ which are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
If the proposed changes do not help workers and increase the burden for taxpayers, who benefits from the bill? Insurance companies and big businesses will benefit. Backing this legislation, it is the insurance industry and other self-insured big business players who stand to profit from the proposed changes. What is happening in North Carolina should be a concern for everyone as no one knows what state will be targeted next.
Most can agree that changes in the workers’ compensation system are needed. Who benefits from changes remains to be seen, however if the proposed bill in North Carolina is an indication of what the future holds, workers’ need to step up and voice their concerns now before its too late.