Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Illinois House Passes Reform, Continues the Cycle

The Chicago Tribune reported last night, passed my bed time I might add, that the House passed a compromised HB 1698, sending the measure to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, whose office has indicated he will sign it.

From the circumstances surrounding the vote, I can only think that House Republicans backed off from more onerous demands (primarily on the issue of redefining causation) with the threat that there may be no workers' compensation system at all, since the  Senate Executive Committee Monday approved, on a 9-6 vote, legislation to abolish the workers’ comp system, sending the measure to the full Senate.

This is a little lesson in the power struggle of business versus labor in a dramatic fashion - the business/insurance lobby wants workers' compensation on its terms to limit liability and expense, but when faced with the prospect of returning to 1911 would rather keep a broken system in place rather than deal with negotiating true reform - one that is not based simply on limitations on causation, medical costs and indemnity restrictions, but one that deals with fundamental motivations and expectations.

So in my opinion Illinois will end up like the rest of "reform" states - tweaks to a fundamentally flawed system whose design is buried in 19th century labor practices and fails to come to terms with the modern work era.

Illinois will return to a "reform" agenda just like all other "reform" states - the cycle of a 7-10 year spin on the system will continue as political football continues to serve narrow financial interests instead of a bigger societal picture.

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