Anti-worker bill deserves a veto
Many Florida businesses figured they didn’t have a dog in this year’s fight over workers compensation.
They figured wrong. A bill approved by the Legislature would make it easier for insurance companies to deny and delay claims by workers injured on the job — by capping attorneys’ fees so low that few workers would be able to hire representation. When injured employees can’t get prompt treatment, businesses face the expense of covering their duties or hiring replacement workers. And if injury-related expenses aren’t covered by workers comp, they are sometimes shifted to employer-backed health insurance — increasing the costs of those policies for employers.
If legislators were serious about reducing workers compensation premiums, they could have followed the recommendation of Florida’s official consumer advocate, and busted the cartel that files rate requests for every workers comp insurance company in the state. That practice helps pad insurance-company profits — which average more than 30 percent in Florida.
Instead, they, along with the state’s two largest business lobbies, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida, catered to insurance-company interests. But Gov. Charlie Crist should veto this anti-business, anti-worker legislation.