Will Workers’ Compensation Survive Obamacare?

Will Workers’ Compensation Survive Obamacare?

What will Obamacare do to Workers’ Compensation? These are issues that will affect both employees and employers in the waves of entrepreneurial companies emerging in 2013 and 2014. Of a certainty, we can expect many intended and unintended affects. Forbes staffer Daniel Fisher did an excellent job of delving into employers’ issues in his interview with Chantel Sheaks of Buck Consultants in his March article here and has given current perspective on what the newest ruling means here).

When enacted, Obamacare will have implications for Workers Compensation

Today I’d like to share a few thoughts about what Obamacare will mean for employers and employees from Steve Schmutz, the Founder and CEO of Claimwire.com and a thought leader in the workers’ comp industry. I met Steve when his soon-to-launch new company recently presented itself as a finalist in the Grow America Springboard business competition in Salt Lake.

Here’s what Steve had to say:

By now, it’s old news that the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). On June 28, 2012, the High Court handed down an historic ruling paving the way for the law’s implementation.

Many things are still unknown about this monumental law we call Obamacare, including what its impact will have on our current workers’ compensation system. Supporters and detractors do agree on one thing – Obamacare is a huge step toward the federalization of workers’ comp. In my opinion, this is a step in the wrong direction.

Today, workers’ compensation laws and regulations are enacted at the state level. I believe this is a good thing. For example, some states are more employer-friendly than others, attracting companies to operate in those states. Other states tend to be more worker-friendly, providing added coverage and benefits under the workers’ compensation umbrella. Still other states seem to be self-friendly, putting the state’s needs above either the employer or employee. (In my own articles, I’ll be taking a closer look in the coming months at which states fall where within the employer/worker friendly side of the scale.)

Which one of these directions is best? The answer depends on your point of view, which is much of the reason I would hate to see workers’ compensation federalized.

I’ve read a few columns from Obamacare supporters touting its benefits. A few parts of the law seem helpful. For example, one of the appealing potential benefits is that if more people were covered by health insurance there would be fewer fraudulent workers’ comp claims. That would certainly be a positive thing.

But at what cost?

Personally, I would rather have the responsibility in my own business to operate efficiently, and to make decisions regarding healthcare and workers comp in a way that best meets my own company’s needs, even at the risk of more fraudulent claims. I don’t want politicians telling me what kind of care my employees get, and I certainly don’t want the added tax burden. I would rather pay $1 to an insurance company than $1 in taxes.

The problems I have with Obamacare are these: Obamacare mandates, Obamacare regulates, and Obamacare dictates.