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Recall Mandate: Gov Davis' Anti-Labor Attack on Workers' Compensation

by Ready to Recall Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2003 at 4:29 PM

Death penalty Democrat Gov Gray Davis made sure we should support his recall by signing a reactionary Workers' Compensation bill on 9/12/03, slashing Workers' Comp. benefits.

Death penalty Democrat Gov Gray Davis made sure we should support his recall by signing a reactionary Workers' Compensation bill on 9/12/03, slashing Workers' Comp. benefits.

This bill came about because the retail business Costco and aerospace company Boeing threatened to leave California unless their Workers' Comp premiums were reduced.

There cuts were made swiftly by Democrats and Republicans together, unlike the passage of a budget or the solving of our energy problems, much less solving all of the problems of California, which always take a long time, and in the case of the problems, are never seriously addressed.

According to the World Socialist Website, 9/15/03, at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/sep2003/comp-s15.shtml,
"* Fees to doctors and outpatient clinics will be reduced to the Medicare level, and pharmacy charges to the Medi-Cal level. As a result, many providers and pharmacies will refuse to serve workers’ compensation beneficiaries, or will force them to make up price differentials out of their own pockets.

* Workers’ visits to chiropractic and physical therapy clinics, which presently can continue so long as the treatment is beneficial, will be capped at 24. Like most arbitrary caps, this particular “reform” falls hardest on the most seriously injured workers, who sometimes require months, if not years, of therapy to mitigate the pain and disabling effects of work injuries. For those too disabled to return to their former jobs, unlimited access to vocational training programs will be ended, and replaced with a more restrictive voucher system.

* There will be stricter guidelines on how often workers can file for benefits and on what kinds of treatments will be available. Employers will have a full year, rather than 30 days, to contest a worker’s claim. Employers will, moreover, have the right to compel workers to obtain a second opinion on back injuries."

While the capitalist press likes to give one the impression that workers' are abusing the current Workers' Comp system en masse, the facts are:

"According to a recent study by the state Division of Workers Compensation, 40 percent of injured workers received no workers’ compensation benefits at all. Those who do obtain compensation are, for the most part, paid much less than someone injured off the job by negligence, such as in an automobile accident."

As to the alleged fraud:
"The system is indeed riddled with fraud, but not at the hands of workers. Insurance companies, health care providers and drug firms inflate prices, bill unnecessarily, wrongfully deny claims, and milk billions of dollars out of the system. They should be penalized, not the workers who are victimized by their unscrupulous methods."

As to the claim that the cuts were needed to save jobs from leaving the state:
"One might just as well call for government subsidies to burglars to dissuade them from breaking into people’s homes and stealing their goods!"
and
"The unstated premise behind the claim of “saving jobs” is the complete subordination of human needs and the social good to corporate profit, the outcome of which is a never-ending decline in the standard of living of working families. The implication is that workers have no legitimate interests or needs that are in conflict with, or in any way independent of, the profit requirements of the bosses. In other words: “What’s good for the master is good for the slave!”

An alternate program that strengthens the Workers' Comp program in favor of the needs of the workingclass is stated in the above article as follows:
"* Safeguard workers’ health and safety.

Rigorously enforce all existing standards and laws to protect workers against injury and illness

Strengthen health and safety provisions to reduce on-the-job injuries and minimize worker exposure to toxic substances

Allow employees to refuse to work under unsafe conditions

Vigorously prosecute in civil, and where appropriate, criminal court, all employers found in substantial breach of health and safety regulations

* Eliminate fraud by taking profit out of health care. Establish a government-managed system to provide quality health care for all.

Transform the big insurance firms, health care giants and pharmaceutical monopolies into public utilities, run under the democratic control of the working people

Build new health and rehabilitation facilities, and train new health care workers to meet the needs of injured and disabled workers

Pay injured workers full salaries until they can return to work"

Socialists are evenly split on the recall, this writer, being in the Yes camp, says:
Vote Yes on the Recall!
Vote Socialist for Governor: John Christopher Burton at http://www.socialequality.com or http://www.wsws.org
or
C.T. Weber at http://www.peaceandfreedom.org or
http://www.la-peaceandfreedom.org
Vote No on 53 and 54!
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