The ARAWC (Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation), a lobbying group financed by almost two dozen major corporations including Walmart, Lowes, Macys and Kohls are working to make it harder for injured workers to obtain lost wages and medical care.
A recent article by Mother Jones found that the ARAWC has already helped write legislation in Tennessee and is looking to ultimately change workers’ compensation laws in all states. See: http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/arawc-walmart-campaign-against-workers-compensation
The goal of the ARAWC is to help pass laws in all 50 states that will allow private employers to opt out of traditional workers’ compensation plans that are now required in almost every state. While the Employers would still be required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance “plans”, the Employer would also be allowed to make their own rules for when, how long and for what reasons an injured worker might be eligible for medical benefits and lost wages.
Two states, Texas and Oklahoma, are already working under this type of legislation saying that it saves employers millions of dollars when they are able to opt out and write plans. For example, in Oklahoma Dillard’s has written its plan to require that an injured worker report his/her injury before the end of his/her shift. In Georgia an injured worker has 30 days to report his/her injury to his/her employer. While in Texas, Walmart has written a plan that allows the employer to choose the injured workers’ physician, has no coverage for asbestos exposure and excludes employees who have been injured from an assault from collecting benefits unless they were defending Walmart’s “business or property”.
Boasting that its goal is to slash healthcare spending, the ARAWC says the Tennessee proposal not only lowers costs for employers, it also allows the employer to require more accountability from the injured worker by allowing the employer to choose the doctor and forcing the injured employees to stick with the company doctor’s treatment plan in order to receive their benefits. Once legislation has been passed in Tennessee, the ARAWC has their sites set on neighboring states with Georgia, Florida and Alabama on the short list of targets.
Fortunately, Georgia has not passed such legislation. Contact the Law Office of Laura Lanzisera to discuss your work injury claim.