Illinois Chamber Statement on Workers’ Compensation Legislation
From Doug Whitley, President & CEO
Illinois Senate Amendment 3 to HB1698 is assigned to the Senate Executive Committee for May 27 at 3:50 p.m.
The Illinois Chamber wishes to acknowledge the efforts of many individuals who have worked diligently for months to help craft a legislative proposal that will address many aspects of the state’s workers’ compensation system. he Illinois Chamber has dedicated the last two years to compel lawmakers and the Governor to address employers’ workers’ compensation problems.
From the employer’s perspective, Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws are unfriendly, high cost and generally characterized as among the worst in the nation. The state’s political leadership has it within its power to change the situation. To do so will reduce costs for employers, as well as taxpayers; improve the business climate; and send a positive signal that Illinois is acknowledging our problems and seeking to address them in a positive manner.
The culmination of efforts to change the state’s workers’ compensation laws has resulted in a measure that offers employers a better situation than currently exists. It introduces important new elements to the Illinois WC law but falls short of Chamber members’ view of true reform.
The Illinois Chamber cannot support the current proposal because it does not meet the test of truly reforming Illinois’s workers’ compensation laws, but we will not oppose a proposal that represents positive, incremental changes.
The measure embodied in HB1698 falls short because three of our major goals for achieving truly substantive reforms that could change the culture and administration of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system were either ignored or inadequately addressed. The Illinois Chamber cannot and will not abandon our obligation to employers to seek a higher standard for “causation,” stricter AMA guidelines and a more secure application of employer authorized medical care networks. Absent the inclusion of these changes it is our opinion that relative to other states, Illinois’ workers’ compensation system will remain high cost and out of the mainstream.
The leadership of the Illinois Chamber recognizes this measure as a positive step, but challenges the state’s political leadership to recognize the competitive business climate is an evolving process that requires continued attention for the need to change. We interpret this bill as a down payment towards achieving more comprehensive reforms.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce promotes the interests of Illinois business by working to improve the state’s business climate. The Illinois Chamber aggressively advocates for legislation and public policies that support economic growth, and is a source of timely and reliable information on matters important to its members, Illinois employers and the general public. The Illinois Chamber also provides effective programs and services to its 3,500+ members to meet their business needs, including immediate answers to tax and human resources concerns and access to compliance seminars and publications. www.ilchamber.org