California Lawmaker Pushes Revision of Workers’ Comp Law
Sen. Carol Migden (D-San Francisco) is pushing a bill that would prohibit physicians from considering age, race or genetic factors when determining benefits under California's workers' compensation insurance system, the AP/Ventura County Star reports.
The legislation would change a key provision in workers' comp reforms that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) enacted in 2004. The reforms require doctors to determine what factors other than a job-related injury contributed to a worker's disability.
Critics say the system has allowed for disability awards that discriminate based on a worker's age, race, gender, national origin or genetic predispositions.
Sue Borg, president of the Applicant Attorneys' Association of California, said that prior to the 2004 reforms, workers' disability benefits could not be reduced because a worker had a pre-existing condition that did not affect his or her job performance.
But Jerry Azevedo, president of the Workers' Compensation Action Network, said the 2004 legislation created a fairer system because it prevents employers from having to pay higher awards based on pre-existing medical conditions (Lawrence, AP/Ventura County Star, 2/11).