In the wake of the BIAW’s unprecedented $7 million temper tantrum in the governer’s race, there has been some chatter that this may finally be the year that we see some legislation aimed at reining in the growing politicization of the state’s “retro rebate” program… an effort that will surely be branded by the BIAW and their editorial board allies as an attack on free speech. Well… that couldn’t be further from the truth.
See, the retro rebate… it isn’t the BIAW’s money. It just isn’t. The money belongs to the employers and employees who pay into the state workers compensation system, and if there’s any rebate coming back, that’s where the bulk of it should go. Indeed, the fact that there is such a large rebate, achieved mostly by pooling risk, suggests that there are gross inefficiencies in the system and its current rate structure, that if directly addressed could result in substantially lower premiums in the first place.
I understand that the BIAW and many other industry associations are heavily invested in exploiting workers compensation inefficiencies to fund their own activities, political or otherwise, but that was never the purpose of the retro rebate program, and thus it is hardly an argument for opposing reforms that would directly lower costs to participating employers and employees, particularly during these hard economic times.
It is time for workers compensation reform that lets employers and employees keep more of their hard earned dollars. And if the BIAW wants to fight a referendum next November, directly opposing the interests of their own members, well, that’s up to them.