A Publication of WTVP

As of February 1, the State of Illinois decided to enter the health field with a brand new rule. This rule should, once again, help the citizens of Illinois immensely. Like all the other rules, we’re now considered a “set fee schedule state.” This is how it works: if an employee is hurt at work, the discipline or insurance administrator will decide if it’s truly an injury that happened at work. If it was, they’ll pay the medical discipline—doctors, chiropractors, surgeons, hospitals, etc.—a set fee. If this happens, the patient wouldn’t be responsible for the difference. If the administrator decides it isn’t an injury that happened at work, the patient is responsible for the total bill.

Now let’s see how this shakes out. It averages a possible 15 to 18 percent chiropractic cost reduction. The best we can probably see medically is a 20 to 60 percent reduction. The idea is to hold workers’ compensation costs down. I don’t mind taking a partial loss if the insurers help industry grow and prosper and make it possible for new industries to come in and benefit our community.

I spoke to three different representatives and bet them all $100 each that this plan has a missing element. And in speaking with my accountant, friends in the construction industry, and dirt movers (heavy machine operators), of these groups, workers’ compensation costs them between $1.66 and $12 per hour per employee. Now these are costs based on importance of exposure and multipliers. For example: in the carpenter’s union, about $6.40 per hour goes to insurance and welfare. But as of February 1, the healing arts took an average of 20 percent reduction immediately. Why is the cost to the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage unchanged? It didn’t take a 20 percent rate drop.

So will our state allow lobbyists one more financial boost to their industry off the backs of the citizens of Illinois? A couple of hundred years from now, when most of history is rewritten, it would be interesting to look back to a time when harm slowly was being delivered to us merely for the sake of profit. Consider re-elections, and discuss this with the incumbents. If you wait and have other people do this for you, your children will have to explain to their children why there’s no longer a middle class. State of Illinois, state of health—try to find the balance. IBI