Home > Uncategorized > Work Comp: How the Businesses Break Down

Work Comp: How the Businesses Break Down

On April 15th, the businesses WC bill failed to pass the Senate, but the issue is far from over. This is one of those major bills where regular timelines don’t exactly apply. There is a strong intention by the legislature and the Governor to pass something this year, and no one is certain what that will look like.

When talking about Workers’ Compensation reform, I’ve often mentioned the trinity of trial lawyers, unions and medical groups that has so far stood united against any major changes to WC. What I haven’t done yet is spoke of the different groups that make up the business community. There are four groups that have taken the lead in this regard:

  • Illinois Manufacturers’ Association: IMA is a more pragmatic group that sees a need to work with the Democratic Leadership and cut a deal to get something passed.
  • Illinois Retail Merchants Association: Like the IMA, IRMA is seeking some sort of compromise with the legislature. One of the biggest issues that killed the previous WC bill was how it took away a patients ability to choose their own doctors. This may be something IMA and IRMA will compromise on to see something passed.
  • Illinois Chamber: Considered more conservative than the previous two, the Chamber has the additional problem of representing a variety of different business groups making consensus more difficult to achieve.
  • National Federation of Independent Business: NFIB is the most conservative of the four and is far less willing to negotiate on many of the points. They have not given much indication that they are on board with any agreement with legislative leadership.

According to the Capitol Fax:

“Greg Baise, the IMA’s president, said yesterday that he knows he still has a ways to go before he can get a deal. And, he warned, if the business community is sharply divided or, even worse, fully unhappy after the Democrats finally decide what they’ll do, then the bill will likely fail. There’s no reason for Republicans to alienate the Medical Society and the Democrats to upset the trial lawyers and the unions if the reform legislation is decried as an empty sham.”

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