Massachusetts still basks in the glory of its 1990 workers comp reforms, which transformed the state from the 3rd highest cost in the country to the 44th. For many of us who shared in this success, the recent comp rates have seemed too low. Since 2008 the Workers Comp Rating and Inspection Bureau (WCRIBMA) has asked for increases ranging from a modest 2.3% in 2008 to a dramatic 19.3% in 2012.
For those who attended one of the workers comp "curiosities" sessions at the Renaissance annual meeting in Newport, nothing was more curious than the case of the 88 year old baggage handler. If you did not attend, you are likely wondering why an 88 year old man was handling up to 500 bags per shift for Spirit Airlines. What was the airline thinking?
Have you ever wondered how we found ourselves in the midst of an opioid crisis that is killing around 90 people every day? Are nasty drug smugglers sneaking over southwest borders and supplying gangs with contraband drugs? Dream on. This crisis was designed and, pardon the expression, executed by Big Pharma, with bi-partisan support from the U. S.Congress. The Republicans and Democrats can agree about almost nothing, but when it comes to unleashing powerful medications on an unsuspecting public, everyone is on board.
What is your image of an addict looking for a fix? Probably not someone sitting in a crowded clinic, waiting impatiently to be called. And what is your image of a drug dealer? Surely not the 58 year old fellow in a white jacket, rarely-used stethoscope sticking out of a pocket.
When is disability coverage for workers not quite workers comp? When it's part of an optional program that covers workers who are not quite employees. Confused? Read on. Uber, in the news lately for the wrong reasons, has taken steps to provide a disability program for its drivers (who are still not employees of Uber).