The Division of Workers’ Compensation has issued its report on the Jerry Brown reforms, touting their success. What planet are they on? The only parties benefitting from the reforms started by former Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzeneggar and completed by Jerry Brown, are the insurance companies and the companies they hire to deny medical treatment. The reforms have resulted in indemnity benefits being reduced to workers and their families by almost half. The current report touts the “increases” but that is grossly misleading. Although the money amount for percentages of disability has gone up, the method to determine the payment has changed. For example, severe pain gets a worker 3% for a grand total of $2,610 for life. And then, the “reforms” allow insurance companies to deny treatment and medications than would help alleviate that pain, with no right for injured workers to have an independent judge review the denials. The only positive thing you can say about the report is to agree that is working as intended: to reduce benefits to injured workers and their families, while at the same time providing very little relief to small employers. Sadly, there is little if any political will in the state of California to turn this around. Maybe Gavin Newsome should chair an independent Blue Ribbon Commission, like he did for the legalization of marijuana, and really investigate what is going on.
You can read the full report here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/Reports/SB863-Assessment-WC-Reforms-July-2015.pdf