Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Government Insurance Nobody is Talking About

Picture by Terry Kelly Sedalia Mo
The Missouri State Capitol.

Workers Compensation Insurance. The idea of W.C.I. is to provide a safety net for workers who become injured on the job. It is a program that was started with good intentions, but has strayed far from it's original purpose.

The original idea behind Workman's comp was to pay medical bills for injured workers, and provide them with monetary compensation if they were unable to work.

Sounds good on the surface-and if done right it would be- problem is it doesn't work as originally intended. What it does in many cases is to cause workers to go broke waiting for the state to decide if you are really injured and entitled to compensation.

Once upon a time in America
if you worked in a factory store hospital etc. etc. for someone else you were on your own if injured. In most cases you would likely lose your job and as a result you and your family would be thrown into poverty.

Enter the government. Labor unions and workers in general started agitating for legal protections and W.C.I. came into being as a consequence.

At one time this baloney may have worked, but today, unless your injury is minor, workers comp can be a real nightmare.

I speak from experience. About 5 years ago my wife was dong her job in the nursing home she worked in when she saw a 6 foot tall patient begin to stumble and fall. Not thinking of herself she grabbed him and tried to stop his fall, but to no avail. Alas both my wife and the man in question went down.

That evening my wife noticed a pain in her abdomen but figured it was just a strained muscle. Unfortunately the pain worsened and after going to the doctor we learned she had a hernia.

This is when the nightmare begins. As a result of an injury that clearly happened on the job-although we could never get the doctor to say definitively- my wife underwent surgery for the injury.

The normal recordable incident report was made and we started the process of making a compensation claim. In the meantime my wife was out of work for several weeks. However before she could return to work complications developed, and long story short, my Wife had to have two more operations.

Meanwhile Workers Comp. began contesting the claim. We had to get a lawyer, and before it was said and done, we went totally bankrupt, my wife spent over eighteen months out of work, and we nearly lost our home.

In light of the health care debate raging across our nation, this is a very informative piece of information. As bad as this was ,I can't help but wonder, what if this had been universal health care and we had to fight like this for treatment of some life threatening medical condition. One could die before it was resolved.

In our nightmare with workers comp the state never did pay our medical bills, they were wiped out in the bankruptcy. As for compensation my wife received 8,000 dollars after lawyers fees. Considerably less than she would have made on the job.

This is a system that needs to be privatized. As it stands now the state looks out for themselves and the employer. Under a private insurance plan the insurance company would have to compete for worker dollars and would have to provide decent coverage or go broke.

The state run system doesn't really care about the worker and will only become worse.
Time to be set free from well intentioned, but dysfunctional, government programs. God help us if Obama care becomes a reality!!!
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