4-26-2011; Illinois WC Reform Update

At present, the Illinois legislature is on an Easter/Passover break until next week. Enjoy the break!! We assume things may start cooking again next week. Again, we point out the best place to reform the Illinois WC system isn’t in the legislature.


Crain’s Chicago Business provided its thoughts in what we consider a somewhat heavy-handed editorial approach. They claim:


·         Illinois workers compensation system is the most expensive in the nation.

o    We have no idea what metrics support that comment; to our knowledge and based upon national research, Illinois is number three.

·         The complaints by Illinois business made no impact on the combination of Democratic politicians, unions, doctors and lawyers who profit from the system.

o    We point out there are Republican politicians, doctors and lawyers who profit too.

o    And “profit” is okay and completely legal in the good old USA; we are just trying to get the profits down to a more reasonable level.

·         Governor Quinn’s cuts in medical reimbursements would cut as much as $500M and then leave Illinois with the second highest medical costs in the country

o    Again, we are unsure of the metrics or measurements upon which this claim is made. The Governor hasn’t released his research on this fascinating claim and we urge his staff to do so.

o    We caution everyone, if medical reimbursements are cut to levels below what companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield© pay, you may have problems getting Illinois docs and hospitals to take WC patients.


Don’t take our word for it. Take a look for yourself at:




The Chicago Tribune outlined its report of the events in Springfield last week. They clearly attacked the failure of the Democrat Senators to vote on SB1349 by simply announcing they were “present.” The Tribune’s editorial staff noted the "present" vote has a long and storied history in our legislature, enabling Illinois lawmakers to block bills while avoiding the political fallout from actually voting against them.


We were happy to see a national news source finally confirm our determination the 2005-6 Amendments to the Illinois WC Act did not help Illinois business and increased IL WC costs. The Tribune said actions in 2005 for the legislature to “just-do-something…led to nothing but window-dressing in 2005: A law described as a landmark reform of workers' compensation turned out to be just a head-fake. Illinois' costs only got worse in its aftermath, especially compared with states like Missouri that enacted real reform.”


As we have said many times, one easily definable way to enact immediate and definable WC reforms would be to roll back the PPD, death benefit and wage differential increases from the 2005 Amendments to our Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. You could also end the five WC funds that only help a very, very limited group of folks and cost Illinois business millions. We also point out the IWCC’s budget tripled while the speed of claim resolution remained virtually unchanged.


You can read their editorial and “draw your own contusions” at:




Risk and Insurance Magazine weighed in with its thoughts; focusing on Governor Quinn’s as-yet undrafted legislative proposals.


They cite the same report from the Governor with the claim that even with a 30% cut in WC medical reimbursements, Illinois would still have the second highest WC medical costs in the country. As one can imagine the President of the Illinois State Medical Society doesn’t feel it would be “reform” to bring WC medical costs down. We have no idea what he might mean.


Again, don’t take our word for it, here is the link:




For all the lawyers who feel compelled to repeatedly tell us to limit reporting of current status and news of Illinois WC reform, please send your letters and comments to the editors of these national news organizations. If you want us to publish your side of the reform issue, forward your thoughts and we will consider them for publication.


We are committed to continue to report what is happening for our readers who continually ask for progress on issues they clearly feel critical to their companies and careers. Every single link above was forwarded to us by a reader and we thank them for their input.


We appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please do not hesitate to post them on our award-winning blog at www.keefe-law.com/blog.