Things appear to be “pumping” in the world of workers’ compensation. Legislatures are gathering. Proponents of “reform”—whatever that is—are huddled together, planning their strategies. Pointing to the activities in Oklahoma (discussed below), in Florida, and other states, some posit that 2013 might be an important year of sea change within the workers’ compensation scheme. Others, including me, point to the fact that change within “our world” is almost always evolutionary—rarely revolutionary.
In the paragraphs that follow, I’ve tried to point to some of the important issues that practitioners, employers, carriers and claimants face in the time ahead. Particularly important is the debate going on in Oklahoma as to whether employers will be allowed to jettison the workers’ compensation system for a quasi-federal mechanism—the ERISA-based plan. Recent national legislation regarding Medicare Set-Asides will have impact in our area of law as well. The status of telecommuters is an additional issue that continues to demand time and understanding from the various workers’ compensation constituencies. Here’s my take on some important issues….
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