Workers Compensation -- 100 Years Later

Workers compensation began a hundred years ago during the Industrial Revolution as a compromise. Injured workers gave up their right to sue an employer following an on-the-job injury. In return, employers would pay for their medical bills and would cover their wages until they were able to return to work. It is the classic "no fault" system. How does that compromise look one hundred years later?

According to a November 4, 2015 article in ProPublica and NPR -- not very good. Author Michael Grabell and Howard Berkes provide a detailed nationwide assessment of workers compensation in a must read piece called The Demolition of Workers Compensation. They detail nationwide changes pushed by industry and big business under the guise of "reform" and cost control. Yet, in reality U.S. employers are paying their lowest premiums since the 1970s.

The original idea - one hundred years ago - was to make the employer responsible for the risk/cost of workplace injury. This way, this cost could be passed to the consumer and create a market incentive to create safer workplaces. Unfortunately, big business - through legislation - has passed this cost over to the American Taxpayer. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid now pay out trillions for the uncovered cost of workplace injuries.

Sadly, this is an issue that has attracted not attention whatsoever. Please read this article.