Wednesday, January 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Dubious tradition holds in Calif. compensation process

walters column sig

By
From page A13 | December 19, 2012 |

California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders tout an overhaul of the multibillion-dollar system of compensating disabled workers for job-related illnesses and injuries as a major accomplishment this year.

Actually, negotiators for employers and labor unions hammered out changes in workers’ compensation during months of private negotiations and handed them to the Legislature, thus continuing a time-honored – or, some say, dishonored – tradition of altering rules of the compensation system once a decade.

It also continued a tradition of changes occurring when some players in the game join forces to stick it to other players. In this case, employers and unions agreed to raise benefits by close to a billion dollars a year and pay for them by squeezing medical care providers and workers’ comp attorneys, while easing rapidly rising employer-paid insurance premiums and, presumably, providing enough liquidity to return insurers to profitability.

On paper, that’s what would happen with full implementation, but whether the presumed effects become real depends largely on regulations now being written – some as emergency rules not subject to hearing – by the Brown administration.

Eight years ago, when the last big changes were made, critics accused then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration of writing harsh rules that deprived workers of legitimate treatment and benefits.

The backlash-fueled drum beating culminated in this year’s overhaul, so contending parties are watching the current rule-making very closely. It’s likely, too, that groups opposed to the 2012 legislation will try to modify it in the Legislature, and perhaps challenge portions in court.

Meanwhile, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones wants insurers – who have complained about losses from rising medical costs – to get another boost in employer-paid premiums, raising the specter of insurer insolvencies and questioning whether this year’s changes would result in enough savings to offset their losses.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau confirmed last week that insurers, who compete fiercely for business, continue to pay out much more in claims and expenses than they receive from employers, even though premiums have risen 22 percent in the past three years, and more increases are in the pipeline.

It’s all part of a familiar drill after the Legislature makes major systemic changes. It takes several years for new rules to be drafted and take effect and for real-world impacts – which are often different from those assumed in the legislation – to reveal themselves. Pressure then begins to build for another overhaul.

That should happen around 2020 and will be a problem for the next governor and a Legislature without members who voted on the 2012 version.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him at dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Youngster battles brain cancer a 2nd time

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    2 Solano road projects get green light

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

     
     
    Rush Ranch seeks docents

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2

    Health officials report 1st Solano flu death

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 5 Comments | Gallery

     
    Kroc Health Fair offers free screenings

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    Vanden to host science fair

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

    Woman with Solano ties caught up in tax fraud case

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police to offer parenting class

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

    Frazier schedules coffee in Suisun City

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

     
    Vacaville police to offer law enforcement academy

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Motorcyclist leads CHP on afternoon chase

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

     
    Coalition members review tobacco control report card

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

     
     
    American Legion Post schedules head-shaving fundraiser

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

    Vacaville Toastmasters welcome guests

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

     
    Chipotle fundraiser to benefit Armijo newspaper

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    Dramas, thrillers lead week’s box office openings

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B8

     
    Suisun City police log: Jan. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Fairfield police log: Jan. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Jan. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Fairfield police log: Jan. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Jan. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun City police log: Jan. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    .

    US / World

    Gold nuggets stolen in smash and grab

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Officials lose track of billions in funding

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Bill would treat e-cigs the same as regular cigarettes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    CSU chancellor looks to increase graduation rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Police: Parents who killed selves, kids feared apocalypse

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    NTSB: Systemic flaws in safety oversight of gas pipelines

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Catholic church in San Francisco to phase out altar girls

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Military has wide discretion on Bergdahl charges

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Gunmen storm Libya hotel, killing American, 9 others

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Famed civil rights protesters to have arrest records erased

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Secret talks in Jordan try to win release of hostages

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    ‘Wicked storm': Blizzard drops 2 feet of snow on New England

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    On Auschwitz anniversary, leader warns Jews again targets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    .

    Opinion

     
    Economic recovery, brought to you by technocrats

    By Jared Bernstein | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Jan. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Jan. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Horoscope Jan. 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

     
    We live close to my nephew but he chooses to remain distant

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

     
    10 Things: 10 fresh takes on Super Bowl guacamole

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Christina Aguilera to perform ahead of NBA All-Star Game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Common, John Legend to perform ‘Glory’ at Academy Awards

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Katie Holmes to guest on ‘Ray Donovan’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Sports

    Falcon boys drop 69-61 SCAC loss to Bethel

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Local Report: Armijo boys roll past Napa 69-41

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

    Nadal loses; Sharapova to play all-Russian semi in Australia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Belichick and The Beast talk but don’t say much at Media Day

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Deflated topic: air pressure in footballs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

     
    Rose’s shot lifts Bulls over Warriors 113-111 in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lynch at Media Day: ‘I’m here so I don’t get fined’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Christina Aguilera to perform ahead of NBA All-Star Game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Super Bowl, Tiger make Phoenix center of sports universe

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Long after Twitter feud, Revis, Sherman pledge respect

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    The distinctive international flavor of Super Bowl Media Day

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Serena Williams advances, Venus out of Australian Open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Getting fired from New England led to Carroll’s reinvention

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Sharks in ‘dogfight’ to secure playoff berth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Jury convicts 2 ex-Vanderbilt players of raping woman

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Rio official says there’s ‘no plan B’ for Olympic sailing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Golfer Allenby stands by story, says truth will come out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Tony Stewart returns with a swagger not seen in 2 years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Shooters find not every basketball is same in college game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Patrick heads into 2015 in final season with team, sponsor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Manfred hopeful of A’s getting new ballpark in Oakland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Jan. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Business

    US home price gains slow in November on weaker sales

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    FTC clears Albertsons’ purchase of Safeway

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    .

    Obituaries

    Clarence E. Morgan

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Don Johnson

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 9 Comments

    Dzhon Athanc

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Julia P. Tan

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Woodrow Allen Oakley

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Donald Wesley Johnson

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Joseph Phillip Raiff

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6