Wisconsin workers compensation is under attack. Wisconsin instituted the nation’s first workers compensation system and it has remained a model for other states largely because of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council. The Advisory Council was created to advise the Department and Legislature on policy matters concerning the development and administration of the worker’s compensation law. The Council is comprised of representatives from labor, employers, insurance companies and health care providers. The Council meets several times a year, proposals are made, negotiated and an agreed upon bill is produced and submitted to the legislature. The Council provides a vehicle for labor and management representatives to play a direct role in recommending changes in the worker’s compensation law to the Legislature. The most important and enduring principle of the Council is maintaining the overall stability of the worker’s compensation system without regard to political party changes in the legislative or executive branches of government.
Now all that is changing. Wisconsin’s model workers’ compensation system is being deformed by politicians for selfish ideological purposes.
Republicans are in control of the State Assembly, State Senate and the Governorship. They also hold a majority in the Wisconsin Supreme Court just in case as well. With firm control of state government, Republicans have decided to ignore the Advisory Council. Instead, key Republican legislators will be introducing their own laws, which will almost certainly pass without any trouble.
The laws being planned by these rogue legislators include limiting the doctor choices an injured worker has, inserting fault into the process – but only penalizing the employee not the employer’s fault, and reducing benefits for injured workers.
The laws changing Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation system are based on similar laws passed in other states in the last 10 years. It is no coincidence. Organizations like ALEC and Wisconsin Employers for Equitable Worker’s Compensation have pre-written laws which they give to handpicked legislators to introduce. Why are they doing this? Because they can.
McCormick Law Office attorneys and paralegals are engaged in fighting these changes to Wisconsin’s model workers’ compensation system. But folks, the reality is no matter how reasonable our arguments against them or how often our lobbyists meet them, we cannot change the minds of those who are not willing to listen. The only real hope for protecting Wisconsin’s model workers compensation system is the ballot box. We need to get the message out so people become aware and get out and vote.
For over 33 years McCormick Law Office has represented injured workers with neck and back injuries, both with surgery and nonsurgical. Experience shows the best results in benefits and recovery come with good communication and decisive decision making.