The resolution was drafted by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators' workers' compensation committee, an organization of state lawmakers whose main area of public policy concern is insurance and regulation. The measure was adopted in response to the proposed H.R. 635, National Commission on State Workers' Compensation Laws Act of 2009. Under the legislation, federal lawmakers would establish a separate body to evaluate state workers' comp laws in order to determine whether the regulations provide an adequate, prompt and equitable system of compensation and medical care for injury or death arising in the course of employment.
In the resolution, NCOIL officials reiterated the group's support for state workers' comp systems, affirmed that state benefit delivery programs respond to each jurisdiction's individual needs, and stressed recent state cost-containment reforms. Deirdre Manna, vice president of regulatory, industry and political affairs for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said her organization strongly stands behind the resolution.
"State workers' compensation systems have proven to be an effective means of protecting injured workers against the costs of industrial injury and protecting employers against the unlimited and unpredictable costs of workplace liability," she said. "Federal requirements on the state-based system would create unnecessary imbalances and unintended consequences for a system that has been operating effectively for decades. Additionally, there is already an abundance of state specific data and studies of state workers' compensation laws that provide ample information on the issues identified by H.R. 635. As a result there is no need for a new national study that would add extra costs during a time of strained federal and state budgets."
Proponents of H.R. 635, which has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor, said the commission is necessary because a thorough review of state comp laws has not been conducted since 1972.
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July 27, 2009
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