Delay, distraction won't solve Illinois' workers' comp woes, Nybo argues
Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Lombard) christened House Bill 2525 with a less-than flattering name during Senate debate on Friday.
“It’s been said before but I think I want to say it again: This is not a workers' compensation reform bill,” Nybo said. “Workers' compensation distraction bill? Perhaps. Workers' compensation delay bill? Perhaps. Perhaps best said, this is a workers' compensation delay and distraction bill.”
Senate sponsor Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) contended that B2525 would help regulate the state's workers' compensation by requiring insurers to submit rates to the Illinois Department of Insurance for approval after first examining potential overcharges, thereby ensuring that employers are paying commensurate with the market. It would also create a Workers' Compensation Premium Rate Task force to study the extent to which the premiums reflect the recommendation of the National Council on Compensation Insurance, according to Raoul.
Nybo, however, admonished Raoul for creating a bill that he said disregarded the progress made during committee hearings and discussions.
“You and I both know that there has been progress made and agreement on some very key issues in workers' compensation, and if you are putting forth a bill to say, 'We’ve agreed as much as we can agree, and we are going to go forward,’ your argument would have some merit,” Nybo said. “The fact that there are so many items missing from this bill that have already been agreed to leads me to the only reasonable conclusion that this will do nothing to put us in a better situation with respect to workers' comp rates.”
In fact, Nybo argued, the bill represented more treading of water.
“For several weeks, we’ve been moving forward, and you’ve [Raoul] been part of that progress getting us closer to agreement every day, every conversation,” Nybo said. “This is a step backwards. This will get us nowhere closer to reforming workers' compensation, and it will get us nowhere closer to solving this budget impasse and bringing some resolution to some very important issues in this chamber.”
Nybo concluded by asking Raoul to take the bill out of the record for continued discussions.
“If you are not willing to do that, then I am going to have to ask for a no vote because this really is not helping us out at all,” Nybo said.
HB2525 passed 35-19.