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GOV. CASEY ISSUES STATEMENT ON WORKERS' COMPENSATION

         GOV. CASEY ISSUES STATEMENT ON WORKERS' COMPENSATION
    HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Robert P. Casey issued


this statement today as hearings opened on a 52 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates:
    As hearings begin, I am compelled to repeat my adamant opposition to the request for a 52 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates now pending before the State Insurance Department.
    First, the point must be emphasized that this is a proposal submitted by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Rating Bureau, a private sector cartel representing 317 insurance firms in this state. This bureau has absolutely no connection, directly or indirectly, with state government.
    Earlier today, testimony was presented at my direction by Secretary of Labor and Industry Thomas P. Foley and Acting Commerce Secretary Andrew Greenberg in opposition to this proposal.
    The objections raised by Secretary Foley and Secretary Greenberg go to the very heart of this matter.
    The potential financial impact of this request on Pennsylvania employers is devastating.  It would severely cripple the business sector as it works to emerge from the national recession which has so seriously harmed our economy.  And it would cost Pennsylvania jobs in the process.
    Beyond that, however, this request points out very clearly the need for fundamental and immediate structural changes in the workers' compensation system.  I have had a four-bill legislative package introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to bring that change about.
    In summary, this reform proposal would:
    1 -- Provide a more competitive environment for workers' compensation insurance, one which would eliminate a uniform rating system and permit companies to compete on the basis of the coverage and premiums each might offer.
    2 -- Put a cap on the upward spiral of runaway medical costs in the workers' compensation insurance system, similar to the limits we placed so successfully in our new automobile insurance reform act.
    3 -- Place a greater focus on workplace safety to reduce both the prospect of on-the-job injuries to workers and the cost of those injuries to employers.
    4 -- Provide premium relief to small business, local governments and farm employers by allowing them to self-insure with appropriate safeguards.
    I intend to press for legislative approval of this package by Jan. 1 so that the rate request now pending before the Department can be set aside.
    In the meantime, I urge business and labor to join in the opposition to this rate request.  I urge their support for prompt legislative consideration of our reform package.  Exorbitant workers' compensation insurance costs threaten business investment and job creation in our state.  We simply cannot permit that to happen.
    /delval/
    -0-                         11/4/91
    /CONTACT:  Vincent P. Carocci of the Commonwealth News Bureau, 717-783-1116/ JS -- PH013 -- 0712 11/04/91 11:54 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 4, 1991
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