Opinion

Stacking deck against injured workers

The attack by the Legislature on Iowa workers continues for the second straight year. Senate File 2305 stacks the deck against Iowans injured on the job. The bill was approved Feb. 27 on a vote of 28-22, in spite of bipartisan opposition.


I have supported efforts by the state to fight fraud and to make sure injured workers get a fair deal.


However, I oppose the new legislation because it?s unnecessary to establish a special Workers? Compensation Fraud Unit and make workers? comp fraud a felony. It?s already illegal to commit insurance fraud ? including workers? compensation fraud ? and we already have a unit that investigates insurance fraud?including workers? compensation fraud.


Criminal penalties and fines will be deposited into a Fraud Penalty Fund, which will help pay the salaries of investigators, so they are essentially working on commission at the expense of injured Iowans.


SF 2305 will discourage injured workers from filing legitimate claims. It?s a backdoor attempt to stop them from getting the compensation and health care they?re owed when hurt on the job.


At one time, the Insurance Journal ranked Iowa?s workers? comp system third in the nation and gave it an ?A? grade.


Iowa?s Economic Development Authority bragged that our state was 11 percent below the national average for workers? compensation premiums.


Extreme legislation over the last year has upset what used to be a well-balanced system. This bill, which is now under consideration in the House, hurts hard-working Iowans and does nothing to move our economy forward or make Iowa a more attractive place to live.


 


? Sen. Rich Taylor represents Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties.