WORKERS’ BENEFITS IN JEOPARDY IN KANSAS AND MISSOURI
The Labor Department is investigating the new state laws, policies and procedures that have resulted in decreasing benefits to injured workers and complicating the process for applying for those benefits. According to an October 15, 2016 article in The Labor Beacon, “The Labor Department is looking strongly at the possibility of establishing standards that would increase federal oversight if a state’s program failed to meet those standards.”
Boyd Kenter Thomas & Parrish partner and Workers’ Compensation attorney, John B. Boyd, made the following statement, “States continue to race to the bottom with wholesale curtailment of access to adequate medical care and wage loss for work related injuries. That’s been the case in Kansas and Missouri, with a change in focus from adequacy to protect working families to that of lowering and shifting employer cost. This has fostered an environment of failure to provide adequate coverage for serious injury. It has placed at risk our neighbors injured at work as well as their families, and shifted those costs to our communities. The principle that the costs of injury are to be included in the price of the product made or service provided has been lost, with those costs now shouldered by our families and communities. Until the national scrutiny resulting in reasonable minimums amongst the states occurs, the downward spiral will shamefully continue as will taxpayer subsidy of the results of job injuries.”
Of course there is opposition to the oversight by employers, business groups and insurance companies who feel that it is unnecessary for the government to intercede, most likely decreasing their profit margins.
Excerpts from The Labor Beacon, October 15, 2016, Volume 23, Number 18