Re: Kitzhaber says reforms cost many injured workers their benefits

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Posted by Tom L on October 18, 1999 at 12:00:20:

In Reply to: Kitzhaber says reforms cost many injured workers their benefits posted by Del on October 17, 1999 at 21:06:23:

This is encouraging news. In the AP wire new flash Senator gene defler said he dosen't oppose tinkering with the states workers comp laws, But that kitzhaber
is trying to go beyond simple changes. I have a question about deflers role in the upcoming appointments to the New and caring MLAC committee.

It is my understanding that Gene Defler due to term limits will not be returning to Salem as a lawmaker, So how could defler have anything to do with the appointments
to MLAC. Defler has been a staunch supporter of the business side of Workmans comp, He played a key role in the reforms of the past making it harder for Injured Workers
to recieve benefits. As an Injured Worker myself I cannot understand why the governor would want defler to help with the appointments when he has worked for years
to take benefits away from workers through his legislation.

In this news flash it says that the pressure for relief is not just coming from the Governors office and that a potential ballet initiative seeks to shake up the system.
Does anyone have an Info on this potiential ballet initiative?. Injured Workers are waiting for the Supreme Court decision "Smothers V Gresham Transfer" if the court
rules in favor of Smothers then the Exclusive Remedy laws will no longer affect injured workers.
If Kitzhaber really wants change to come to the current systm then he really needs to look for a different perspective
and not to the people that have brought the governor to question the current system.

Since the break up of MLAC many Oregonians have come to question the effectivness of MLAC and it's responsibilitys to oversee Workmans Comp. Last year MLAC cancelled almost
every meeting and this year just as many meetings have been cancelled, In my mind the concept of MLAC might have been good but because of the 1990 an 1995 reforms
MONEY for the business climate has blinded this commitee into not recognizing what the Injured worker has had to go through just because of an on the job accident.
There have been attackes on the effectivness of OR-OSHA and BOLI because MLAC has been protecting the business interests in Oregon.
The concept of MLAC should be abandoned simply because it dosen't work If you need proof of that look at all of the cancelled meeting this year and in past years and the only time
MLAC had a FULL COMMITTEE MEETING was to ensure that any worker proposed bill that would have affected the business climate were squashed and not to be considered.

With the Election year approaching it would be very easy for the governor to appoint new members to MLAC during all of the election hype just to protect the current business climate and the tax revenue
that it provides, But this writer is not so hardend to accept any proposed changes to a workers comp system that dosen't work.
What all workers want and expect from this system is "fairness". Why should someone be dragged into court to prove their injury or Illness at their expense.
The problems with the Workers comp system are not just in the system itself, Boli for example is so underfunded that it cannot possible help all of the workers that file complaints, OR-OSHA
has had most of its teeth pulled because of legislative attacks "WHY" because these agencys are their to protect the civil rights and the health and safety concerns of workers.
The legislaure has made sure that all workers are convered under the EXCLUSIVE REMEDY LAWS and that the violating employers are protected from lawsuits. The State of Oregon has protected the business
climate so well that it has forgotten about the people that have made a difference in the business climate for Oregon.
Remember Mr Kitzhaber that a "House divided against itself will crumble", Don't look to the people that have caused these problems look for a fresh perspective.

Now that you have admitted that the reforms of the past have cost injured workers their benefits what are your plans for these forgotten workers. Will the money be paid back to them for having to pay for
their own medical bills that the Insurance company refused to pay, and because of those bills these forgotten workers have lost homes and vehicles because of these bills.
Can your concern give them back their self respect and diginity probably not. But any solution whether political of thoughtful will be considered good.

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