Sic Willie Must Be Stopped August 21, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
WORKERS’ COMP ISSUE HIS LATEST MAINSTREAM MEDIA EGO-ENHANCER
FITSNews – August 21, 2007 – In case you haven’t opened your daily edition of La Socialista this morning, Sic Willie is once again getting all the credit for stirring yet another political ruckus in the mainstream media – this time concerning the ongoing workers’ comp debate. It’s almost like the rest of our crack news staff doesn’t exist … which may be true but that’s not the point.
Anyway, the state’s largest newspaper has a big article today about Gov. Mark Sanford’s ongoing effort to reform South Carolina’s workers’ comp laws, which was the subject of an article appearing on our website earlier this month. As we reported, Sanford is planning on requiring his workers’ comp commissioners to enforce American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines in awarding damages, which would have a dramatic effect on reducing skyrocketing premiums and enhancing our state’s competitiveness. Of course not at all surprisingly, several bought-and-paid-for, anti-business legislators like Rep. Harry Cato and the trial lawyers who fill their campaign coffers don’t like the idea. According to the story:
The (FITSNews) blog has made the rounds of legislators and workers’ compensation lawyers, who have been surprised by the idea and doubtful of its legality.
What these status quo blowards don’t get is that not only is it legal, the mere rumor of Sanford insisting on objective standards in workers’ comp awards has already had a distinctly positive effect on the situation.
In fact, at the governor’s cabinet meeting this morning, Insurance Director Scott Richardson (whose middle name is “Head,” by the way) announced that three workers’ comp insurance companies have already called him based on hearing the rumor wanting to register to do business in our state.
What’s the big deal, you may ask? Well, all three would be charging premiums that are 15-to-20 percent less than those currently being charged.
To its credit, the new workers’ comp reform law passed by the legislature this year did do a lot of good. It eliminated the Second Injury Fund and closed a number of costly legal loopholes that had been created by activist court rulings. It also toughened penalties for defrauding the system while giving businesses’ the right to tell their side of the story (using expert witnesses and evidence) during the claims process.
Specifically, Speaker Bobby Harrell deserves credit for resisting the efforts of Rep. Cato and several trial lawyer Senators (Democrat Brad Hutto, in particular) to water down the workers’ comp bill, which was signed by the governor this summer.
Harrell could now take a major step toward further solidifying his conservative credibility on this issue by endorsing the governor’s insistence on AMA guidelines, and based on our conversation this afternoon with his spokesman, Greg Foster, that looks like it could be a distinct possibility.
“This is definitely something the Speaker would consider to be business-friendly,” Foster told FITSNews.