Why Change Wisconsin’s Workers Compensation Law?
Monday, March 16, 2015
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - In 1911, Wisconsin passed the nation's first worker's compensation program and to this day it is still considered a model for the rest of the nation. Proposed legislation would dismantle the program and many litigators, such as Milwaukee attorney Mike Gillick, say the proposed change will not save the taxpayers a dime. Supporters say it will.
"I would simply ask them to point out how it's going to save money and if you look at everything that's been written about this you won't find one comment except 'it's going to save money,'" says Gillick. "Well, nobody's asked how it's going to save money and the reason is because they can't show you where it's going to save money."
Gillick says the legislation would actually cost the taxpayers millions, create more litigation, and replace an excellent system with bureaucratic chaos, delay and dissatisfaction by all involved including injured workers, employers, insurers and health care providers.
Gillick says the Wisconsin system works because it's predictable, which means insurance companies can manage risks and set lower rates. He says the proposed changes create a politicized model, which will result in a yo-yo effect, which will drastically drive up insurance rates.
"If you install a whole bunch of right wing political provisions, they'll predict based upon that," says Gillick. "However, when the Democrats take over, as they inevitably will and they install all kinds of theirs, then you have to predict as to what that's going to be and it loses all of the predictability, so the insurance company is not happy."
Supporters say it will save taxpayers money and will streamline government. Gillick strongly disagrees and maintains it will actually harm the taxpayer.
"This destruction of a great system will work to the detriment of that taxpayer as a working person because that working person could get injured, too," says Gillick. "If he does, he's going to have a terrible other system within which to pursue his case, and he'll lose out that way, too."
Gillick is also disturbed that this proposed legislation is happening largely in secret.
"Unless what you're trying to do is to get this into a position where nobody can stop it, and when they find out about it there's no hope of stopping it," he says. "There's something very, very, very suspicious about this whole process."
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