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KHTS EXCLUSIVE: Rebuttal of Poochigian’s Workers Comp Article

In response to views on Worker's Comp expressed by Senator Poochigian in a story published by KHTS on December 4th ( Senator Poochigian Gives Update on Workers Comp )we have an exclusive rebuttal from Sam Gold, Director, Californians Injured At Work, www.ciaw.org

The views expressed by Sam Gold do not represent the views of KHTS AM-1220 radio.




The REAL state of Workers Compensation in California 

Some people in this state are afraid to tell the people of California the truth, so they employ Public Relations spin doctors to make their press releases look pretty and everyone thinks all is well in the state.

 

But all IS NOT well. Outgoing Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi put it best when on May 4, 2004 on National Public Radio he uttered these immortal words:

 

“The insurance companies have control of the California legislature. They dominate it.

They get what they want. They kill what they don’t like. That’s got to stop!”

 

And that pretty much sums up the problems that we have with the California Workers Compensation system. The state of California no longer runs it, the insurance companies do! The legislative influence that they are able to buy with their billion dollar pocketbook is totally unbelievable!

 

SB899, the worst piece of legislation in California history

SB899, which Senator Charles Poochigian authored in 2004 was in no way, shape or form, a reform of any type. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. What it did, was give insurance company claims examiners the tools by which to delay and deny medical treatment and benefits on a wholesale scale, to genuinely injured working Californians, who in many cases were injured by the gross negligence of their employer.

 

Just look what Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia has to say about this travesty when you look up “Chuck Poochigian” and scan down to the heading “notable bills that he authored”:

 

Senate Bill 899: Reduction of Disability Benefits and Limitation of Medical Care for Injured Workers (2004). Drastically limits workers' compensation insurance company responsibility for injured workers' medical care. Results in a fifty percent (or more) reduction in disability benefits for injured workers. Ensures greater profits for workers' compensation insurance companies doing business in California .

 

I certainly think that it speaks for itself!

 

Insurance companies weren’t happy with just being indemnified against civil prosecution for being responsible for the injuries of thousands upon thousands of injured workers. They wanted more. They took a totally dysfunctional system and turned it into utter chaos. There aren’t even any meaningful penalties any more, to punish insurance companies for their many gross violations of the law. SB899 took care of that!

 

The insurers want to be able to nationally administer claims instead of doing it state by state, so they pushed for the ACOEM guidelines to be etched in stone. Remember these were just guidelines, but the insurance companies think they are the gospel and should apply to everything and everyone! Next thing you know, when you call your claims examiner, you’ll get a call center somewhere in Southern India !

 

Californians were upset with Governor Grey Davis and they found a candidate that they could buy. Enter Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here is a governor who vetoes anything that will help the common man, John Q. Public, the tenants of the State of California , we the people! Universal health care for all? No Way !

 

Several injured workers have already died because of this negligence, but under the changes in the state Labor Code, their spouses or widows cannot even collect a death benefit to compensate their families for the loss of the primary breadwinner. Insurance companies routinely refuse life saving medications and medical procedures that would help the occupationally injured. And no one in state government will step forward and hold them accountable!

 

The California Chamber of Commerce calls any significant change that would cost big business any money “a job killer.” Obviously they are not interested in the health and welfare of California ’s workers, only their financial bottom line. Don’t believe their fairy tales, because that’s all they are and they are the best money can buy.

 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel

California voters sent Chuck Poochigian back to Fresno with his bags packed in November. Who wants an Attorney General who turns his back on the very people that he swore to represent. How much insurance industry money has he helped himself to while in the Senate?

 

Personally, I think he will probably re-appear as a lobbyist for the insurance industry in Sacramento .

 

It’s time for California to take back this system and restore it to it’s original purpose; to help injured Californians get back to work!

 

If you need our help, we’re here to serve.

 

Sam Gold

Producer, Injured On The Job, www.injuredonthejob.tv

Director, Californians Injured At Work, www.ciaw.org