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PENNSYLVANIA AFL-CIO PRESIDENT BLASTS SEN. MADIGAN'S WORKERS' COMPENSATION RIPPER AMENDMENT

 PENNSYLVANIA AFL-CIO PRESIDENT BLASTS SEN. MADIGAN'S
 WORKERS' COMPENSATION RIPPER AMENDMENT
 HARRISBURG, Pa., April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO today issued the following:
 The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, on a strictly partisan (seven Republicans to four Democrats) vote, amended and reported H.B. 2140 to the Senate for consideration. The main amendment was offered by Sen. Roger Madigan. The Madigan amendment stripped entirely the bipartisan House-passed bill and substituted the Madigan Ripper amendment slashing benefits and eligibility for injured workers. The other principal amendment raised the reimbursement rates for medical providers and will increase costs to employers.
 William M. George, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president, said, "The Madigan Ripper amendment is a knife in the back of Pennsylvania working men and women.
 "The Madigan Ripper violates a worker's right to Social Security. Madigan would force an injured worker to sign over his Social Security to his employer. Workers gave up the right to sue their employer and were supposed to get Workers' Compensation. Now, Madigan would demand that an injured worker give up his Social Security for which he or she paid for throughout their work life. Injured workers would also lose their pensions and severance pay.
 "The Madigan amendment endangers the lives of every worker in the state. Under the Madigan amendment, workers would be required to treat with old style company doctors for 120 days; forced to have surgery and unnecessary treatment or lose their benefits. All injured workers, including those now out on disability, would have their Workers' Compensation insurance payments cut by new, reduced formulas. Few would qualify, even if they were hurt on the job, under a new evidence standard higher than used in a court of law.
 "The Madigan Ripper deletes all incentive for a safer workplace as proposed by the governor and passed by the House. The Madigan Ripper is an inhuman, callous attack by the insurance industry and greedy corporations on the people of this state. Taking out any incentive for a safe workplace, when a minimum of 280 workers die each year and several hundred thousand are injured, demonstrates that no value is placed on human life.
 "The Madigan Ripper exposed to the light of day really tells workers they are worth less than the machines and tools of industry. If a machine is broken, the employer will pay to fix it. If a worker is injured, the employer no longer would be responsible for medical bills or lost income. Senator Madigan's Ripper amendment throws us back to the early part of this century when mine owners put the welfare of the mule ahead of the life of human beings. People of justice, humanity and a sense of the value of life and the dignity of work rejected the view that people are disposable property. Senator Madigan's Ripper says that human life is worth less than property -- workers are disposable like worn out machines.
 "There are no cost savings in the bill, except off the back of injured workers. Greedy employers, insurers and others who wrote this bill and paid thousands of dollars to hire gun lobbyists, must be stopped. The ethic of greed, at the expense of the average worker, cannot become the law of Pennsylvania.
 "I call on the full Senate to reject this inhuman attack on the people of this great commonwealth."
 Following is a copy of the letter sent to all members of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee:
 We are writing to urge your vigorous opposition to the amendment to be offered by Senator Madigan to H.B. 2140, dealing with Workers' Compensation. This amendment would destroy Workers' Compensation; enhance insurance power over business and do next to nothing in addressing the cost of Workers' Compensation to business. The amendment is simply an attack on the benefits and eligibility of injured workers. For these reasons, we urge your opposition.
 Some of our concerns are:
 (1) Takes away people's old age Social Security if they were injured on the job and getting Workers' Compensation;
 (2) Requires injured workers to treat with the company doctor for 120 days;
 (3) Injured workers must accept surgery if recommended, or lose benefits;
 (4) Cuts benefits across the board by reducing the basis for benefit calculation;
 (5) Cuts benefits for construction and any others who experience seasonal layoff by averaging earnings; and
 (6) Cuts benefits by not counting lost income from second job of injured worker;
 (7) Will deny medical treatment to injured workers during appeals.
 The above is just a partial list of what the amendment does. The amendment should also be defeated for what it fails to do to lower costs and save lives. Specifically, the amendment deletes from H.B. 2140:
 (1) Workplace safety incentive deleted;
 (2) Business/labor advocate to represent business and labor before the Insurance Commissioner deleted;
 (3) Insurance industry price-fixing cartel is maintained without any business/labor participation or open process.
 The Madigan amendment increases the insurance industry power by effectively deleting prior approval of rates by the Insurance Commissioner. By moving to a file and use system for insurance companies, while maintaining the cartel and cutting out the business/labor advocate, the insurance companies will have a stranglehold on the job producing business in the State.
 Finally, the Madigan amendment does nothing to encourage or insure that any savings will go back to business.
 For all of these reasons and many more, we encourage your strong opposition to the Madigan amendment.
 Sincerely,
 /s/ William M. George, President
 Judith Heh, Executive Vice President
 John Vento, Secretary-Treasurer
 Following is the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Fact Sheet on Madigan Ripper No. 3:
 1. Encourages phony corporations allowing exemption from Workers' Compensation protection so-called "independent contractors, owner operators in trucking, etc."
 2. Caps maximum benefit at 3 percent growth instead of the statewide average weekly wage.
 3. Cuts benefits for construction and any other seasonal workers by averaging earnings over 52 weeks.
 4. Standard of evidence changed to a higher, more difficult level.
 5. Allows insurers to own the doctors who treat injured workers.
 6. Offsets old-age Social Security, severance pay and pension plan.
 7. Changes no-fault system to include more litigation on issue of intoxication.
 8. Eliminates minimum benefit.
 9. Denies benefits to those in school.
 10. Makes benefits determined by average earnings of "fellow employees."
 11. Partial disabled who are laid off lose benefits if they can't show "substantial disadvantage" of getting another job after layoff.
 12. Required to treat with company doctor for 120 days.
 13. 113 percent for medical care and pharmaceuticals at 110 percent of wholesale price. (Same as mail order.)
 14. Company and insurer doctors can be paid more than 113 percent.
 15. Medical bills don't have to be paid by insurers or employers and they contest the claim. Now law requires payment, then challenges.
 16. Worker responsible for medical bills if the worker doesn't comply with mandatory company doctor rules.
 17. Must accept surgery or other treatment or lose benefits.
 18. Insurance companies can own coordinated care organizations and control doctor and thereby control worker.
 19. Cuts out professional athletes from WC who earn more than $100,000.
 20. Reduces benefits by not counting payments to pensions, health care and other deductions from pay -- benefits determined on net rather than gross pay minus taxes.
 21. Reduces benefits by not counting lost income from second jobs.
 22. Allows employer to petition for termination of benefits and then get the medical evidence to make out the case after petition to terminate is filed.
 23. Cuts out real estate agents from any protection.
 24. Grants immunity for employer of employees of landscape, architects, engineers, design professionals, etc.
 25. Provides for mandatory mediation upon request of only one party.
 26. Allows for six weeks temporary compensation aimed at getting people to sleep on their rights by paying for six weeks -- will never establish their claim, lose future medicals and injuries will be considered pre-existing condition that is not compensable as the statute of limitations runs out.
 27. Allows employer to cut injured worker off without hearing after return to work -- violates Constitution -- back salary case.
 28. Takes power away from referee allowing either party to get "independent" medical exam. Now the referee is the only one who can demand an independent exam -- higher cost -- makes it into a medical contest only.
 29. New and higher standards -- for referees must make long decisions, more litigation and end up with several hearings on the facts which now the referee determines. Referees must write findings and reasons for each fact.
 30. Appeals will allow for retrying the facts in each case before the Appeals Court.
 31. Injured worker must pay employers' costs if they appeal and the appeal is "frivolous" -- chill the right of appeal.
 32. Employer appeal costs not recoverable where "reasonable basis" for appeal -- current law reads automatic payment to injured worker where employer appeal is lost.
 33. Allows medical care to be cut off before the final decision is made by the referee -- now medicals must be paid until the case is decided.
 34. More than fraud. Definition of fraud is very broad and can result in seven years in jail and restitution for providing incomplete information or misleading information.
 35. Insurance gets to use the file and use system without prior approval of rates by the Insurance Commissioner.
 36. Rate fixing maintained must use fixed rates set by the cartel.
 37. Keeps the cartel in place -- known as the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau -- cuts out business and labor members on the cartel.
 38. Keeps 52 percent rate hike request for 120 days.
 39. Deletes the business/labor advocate.
 40. Deletes all of workplace safety.
 The bill, as a whole, strengthens the insurance company stronghold on business by eliminating prior approval by the Insurance Commissioner -- keeping the rating cartel completely in hands of insurance companies and eliminating the business/labor advocate.
 /delval/
 -0- 4/6/92
 /CONTACT: William M. George, president, or David H. Wilderman or James Deegan of the AFL-CIO, 717-238-9351/ CO: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KA-CC -- PH035 -- 5540 04/06/92 16:47 EDT
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Date:Apr 6, 1992
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