The Federalization Of Workers Compensation
I had coined the phrase Federalization of Workers Comp a few months ago. I was told that I was a tea leaves reader; black swan proponent; and other choice terms. No one would believe me when I warned the new Healthcare Legislation would be the start of the feds controlling Workers Comp. I had one fellow blogger post a blog that Workers Comp would never be federalized – period.
Well, it is now here. Senator Robert Byrd (WV) included language in the Senate measure passed last month that would make it easier for miners to receive benefits through the national black lung program. Currently, miners must prove that black lung significantly contributed to their disability. Byrd’s provision would instruct administrative law judges to presume that miners with 15 or more years in the mines who are suffering from a totally disabling lung disease would qualify for benefits unless there’s evidence they don’t have the disease or that it came from somewhere other than the mine.
The provision would also automatically allow a surviving spouse to continue receiving benefits after a miner’s death rather than having to reapply, a process that can take years.
I am not saying that this was bad legislation. I am just pointing out this was FEDERAL LEGISLATION, not state legislation. This is not going to be the last foray by Congress to insert its powers into what should be left alone to be administered by the states.
The CMS’s Medicare Set-aside rules are not far behind. I had read in John Gelman’s blog the CMS may consider their rules as having no statute of limitations.
What happened to the Workers Comp rates for coal mine related companies? The NCCI was going to revise the advisory rates for coal companies in West Virginia and the insurance carriers were going to revise their rates. As of the time of this post, I think the revisions have been delayed.
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