Governor Crist Vetoes Workers Comp Bill
I wrote a post a few days ago on the recent veto of a promising Workers Comp bill by Florida’s Governor Crist. While he signed off on bills that would improve the Florida Department of Health and extend a controversial Medicaid managed-care pilot program, he vetoed the bill aimed at controlling costs in Workers Comp.
In my last post, I wrote primarily about the limitation of prepackaged drugs that the bill would have ensured, but it also addressed so many other issues dealing with worker’s comp and state risk management.
Florida’s Chief Financial Office Alex Sink, who implemented recommendations to strengthen the state’s risk management program, released a statement Friday saying, “This legislation was an important step in holding state agencies accountable and reducing workers’ compensation costs, and I am very disappointed that Governor Crist chose today to favor special interests instead of Florida taxpayers.”
Key elements of the bill, HB 5603, included establishing return-to-work programs for certain state agencies, basing premiums on actual loss experience, and enabling the Division of Risk Management with the responsibility to evaluate state agencies’ risk management programs as well as recommend corrective authority. It also contained a provision to cut short the increasing costs of prescription drugs in the workers’ comp program.
“The bill would have helped control state risk management expenses and employers’ workers comp costs,” the Governor said in his Friday veto message, “but the bill could also result in numerous unintended consequences that could adversely impact injured workers.”
He didn’t mention what exactly these “unintended consequences” were, however. And if he doesn’t start giving some reasoning behind his veto, I will safely say that he has severely hurt the entire state of Florida’s businesses. Following another sneaking suspicion of mine, I will be looking into if Florida doctors who have special interests in prepackaging drugs have given the Governor campaign money.