Workers' Comp Gamesmanship Continues

Auto_Assembly_Line_iStock_000001422112XSmall1Followers of this page already know the on/off nature of workers' compensation "reform" attempts in Illinois over the past year or so. There is clearly nothing so frightening to the general public than the truth, which, in this case, seems to involve threats of taking away everything familiar as a way to "improve" things.

The story in shows just how silly things have become (or how much sillier they have gotten this time). Basically, State Representative, John Bradley is taking the tack of saying "I'm going to pick up my toys and go home but before I do I'm going to take away the bats and balls you guys have been playing with too so we'll all be miserable!" By claiming he wants to abolish the workers' comp system in Illinois (which, no doubt, and has been noted in this space, has plenty of things that need fixing), Bradley is basically making the threat that this will force everyone on both sides of the aisle to redo the entire system.

While it might make sense to admit the system is broken and let's blow it up and start over, this is hardly the most efficient way to get "reform" accomplished. The basic framework of comp in Illinois is imperfect, as are juries, judges, lawyers, and pretty much everything connected with the civil court system. Sure, we could do a lot better. We also could join the myriad of states whose workers' compensation systems are far worse than ours.

Sometimes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.

While no one argues we have a perfect system, abolishing the system is hardly the solution. This space suggests voters (that's you folks--you work and you vote and this system affects you either as a worker who may get hurt or an employer who might have to live under the system!) contact their legislators and tell them to act like grownups and stop grandstanding. Get some incrimental changes made that fix some of the problems we have but that don't destroy hard-earned rights of workers.

Just because something is broken does not mean breaking it and starting over gives you a better result. Take this old house and gut it but rehab it. Don't burn it to the ground just because the fire will get you on the news.

Mr. Madigan, are you listening?

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