DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Joe Baca

Sent By: john.cummins@mail.house.gov <mailto:john.cummins@mail.house.gov?subject=RE: Support a National Review of State Workers’ Compensation Laws>

Bill: H.R. 635

Date: 6/10/2009

June 10, 2009

Cosponsor H.R. 635 the National Commission on State Workers’ Compensation Laws

Dear Colleague:

Please join me as a cosponsor of legislation that will authorize the creation of a National Commission on State Workers’ Compensation Laws. This Commission will carry the charge of evaluating state workers’ compensation laws in order to determine if these laws provide an adequate, prompt, and equitable system of compensation and medical care for injury or death arising out of or in the course of employment. It will also assess whether additional remedies should be available to ensure prompt and good faith payment of benefits and medical care to injured workers and their families.

This legislation is important in light of the fact that serious questions exist today concerning the fairness and adequacy of present workers’ compensation laws. The vast majority of American workers and their families depend on workers’ compensation for their basic economic security in the event of an injury or death in the course of employment. Yet changes and reductions in State Worker’s Compensation Laws have increased the inadequacy and inequitable levels of workers’ compensation benefits.

In 1972, a national commission authorized by the Nixon administration reported that the system of state

workers’ compensation laws was inequitable and inadequate.The commission made numerous recommendations and set minimum standards for ensuring a fair system at the state level. Regrettably, the insurance industry has been attacking states one by one to significantly reduce benefits to workers and their families.

A recent study by the Center for Justice and Democracy, a non-profit/non-partisan organization found alarming trends in drastic reduction in workers’ rights and remedies in numerous states including Texas, Missouri, West Virginia, Georgia and California as well as numerous other states. Even a recent Consumer Report Magazine article pointed out that the collateral losses to families from work injuries go far beyond workers’ compensation benefits and the lasting impact to families is under-appreciated by all but those who are affected. Workers’ compensation systems were very poorly rated by the magazine.

It is far time for the 1972 Commission to be revisited to determine where the various states stand on providing equitable wage and medical benefits for America’s workers as well as due process of law and fair reports of fraud.

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) are in support of this bill.

If you have any questions or would like to cosponsor this legislation, please contact my staff member, Jack Cummins at john.cummins@mail.house.com or 5-6161.

Sincerely,

/s/ Joe Baca, Member of Congress

43rd Congressional District