Iowa Legislature Public Hearings


Public Hearings and times are as follows:

HF 518 - A bill for an act relating to workers’ compensation and including effective date and applicability provisions. (Formerly HSB 169.)

Sponsored by the Commerce Committee

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
6:00 PM (introductions begin)
7:30 PM (conclusion of the hearing)
RM 103, Sup. Ct. Chamber

Comments Received at Public Hearing (Date Published: 03/08/2017)
03-02-2017
Anonymous [ISIA]
PRO
7125743051
03-02-2017
Lisa Peterson [Tyson Foods ]
PRO
I am in support of the proposed workers' compensation legislation. I wish to speak.
03-02-2017
Bill Gerhard [Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council]
CON
Thank you.
03-03-2017
Dick Roth [Bridgestone Americs Tire Operations]
PRO
I would like to speak in support of the proposed legislation for Workers Compensation reform. Thank you, Dick Roth, Safety, Security and Medical Manger, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.
03-03-2017
Elaine Meyers []
CON
This bill is very onesided on the side of the employer and insurance carrier. The employer pays the insurance company to do what's in the employer's best financial interest. The insurance carrier also is the one to hire an attorney to represent the employer in any matter such as this, and is solely working for the employer. To put an employee's health and well being in the hands of the employer and insurance carrier and trust that they do the right thing for the employee, pay them in the manner they're entitled and not short change them ... that's stacking the deck with two high powered companies against the working man. The fact that those in favor of this bill keep referring to abuse of the system by the attorneys that represent these workers ... I'd like to see examples of this abuse. Details concerning the instances that they're basing their position on. If you can't name any instances, details, proof that the system is being abused by the attorneys who are helping these employees get medical treatment (and I don't mean 1 or 2 examples this type of gutting of the system requires a significant amount of instances), then you are voting misinformed, and just following along like lemmings in order to benefit the upper class and putting the working man into poverty if they have the misfortune of becoming injured. Unemployment will rise, Medicare and Medicaid will become overwhelmed, food stamps will be necessary, and these people will lose their homes. Their family will suffer because there's no recourse for these people except to accept the decisions of the corporate bigshots who could care less about anything but their own bottom line. No representation for the worker, complete representation for the employer and insurance company. You need to vote NO to this bill. Working Iowans need to be protected from this type of legislative abuse.
03-03-2017
Denise Wall, CP [Wertz Dake & Anderson]
CON
I strongly disagree with the provisions of this bill. As an individual who works with injured workers every day, the proposed changes will detrimentally affect these workers. When people are injured on the job, workers compensation is their ONLY remedy. Many injured workers cannot return to work or cannot return to the job they held at the time of their injuries. This bills takes away benefits these injured workers need to survive. The proposed changes will significantly reduce the workers ability to support themselves and their families. Iowans desperately need workers' compensation insurance coverage when they have been injured and this bill would destroy the system. The bill cuts off benefits for workers at 67, it allows insurance companies to deny claims if a worker is overweight or over 40, it creates new avenues for insurance companies to get away with delaying payments and denying legitimate claims, and it slashes coverage for common shoulder injuries. Employers already have low costs and see few claims, this bill just rigs the system for them. If you pass this bill you are destroying insurance coverage that EVERY Iowan relies on, regardless of where they work. If employers don't have to cover work injuries, taxpayers will. Please vote "No."
03-03-2017
Rhonda K. Purdy []
CON
I would encourage you to really examine this bill and realize exactly what you are voting for and that you are not just listening to talking points, or following marching orders. If you are truly informed then please share details and specifics concerning your position. If you can't provide specifics, I intend to make others know through social media, that our representatives, whom we voted for, are backing legislation for which they are uninformed, making reckless decisions that are damaging working people, and for what can only be seen as a sellout to corporate America greed. I would encourage any one of you to contact me. I am a paralegal specializing in workers' compensation. I have worked for both sides injured workers and employers and their insurance companies. I know what I am talking about. The reason we have attorneys representing injured workers is because of the ongoing corporate abuse. There would be no need for injured workers to be represented (putting "us" out of business) if the laws were followed to begin with, but they obviously can't, they are too greedy to put into play their good faith legal duty to administer the workers' compensation statutes fairly. Are you just listing off talking points, or can you provide some concrete examples of abuse in the system? Specifically, can you cite to a case of abuse? Can you name attorneys who are abusing the system? Or are you just relaying back what someone told you to say? I CAN provide examples of "abuse" in the workers' compensation system! I see it every day! So far, it would seem that your minds are already made up and you refuse to hear all perspectives. What if you, your spouse, your child, your parent, anyone close to you sustained a serious injury at work? Would you feel the same way? If you would like to talk about "abuse" what about the insurance companies that unreasonably delay or deny benefits? Dont pay mileage as required by law? Refuse to give injured workers proper medical care? Nurse case managers that tell the doctors what to say and do without any regard to what is best for the patient/injured worker? That is abuse! Please take a closer look at Senate Study Bill 1170. I respectfully request that you reconsider and understand how detrimental this could be to ALL working Iowans. DO NOT LET THIS GET ANY FARTHER! PLEASE VOTE NO!!!!
03-03-2017
Beth Wellington []
CON
I am a paralegal in a law firm who represents injured workers. I am also a conservative and have voted Republican since I was 18 years old. Confusing, isn't it? I vehemently oppose this bill. It makes sense for Republicans to oppose this bill. This bill will increase our taxes. Since when are Republicans for tax increases? Can our Republican lawmakers justify a tax increase to their constituents? This bill will cause more people to be on social welfare programs such as food stamps and Medicaid. Since when do Republicans want more people on these programs? This bill will cause an increase in private health insurance premiums. Republicans rallied against the increased Obamacare premiums and we have fought to have it repealed and replaced. Passage of this bill is a slap in the face to people who have had their Obamacare premiums increased, because guess what? Now they have to pay an even higher premium. The Republican party is hypocritical. The resulting effects of this bill go against everything our party is supposed to be about. Many who support this bill talk about the "abuses" of the system, yet they fail to give actual examples of that abuse. Are there Claimants who abuse the system, I'm sure there are. As someone who deals with injured workers on a daily basis I can tell you the abuse from employers and insurance carriers is much more prominent and much more frequent than the abuse by any claimant. I could give multiple examples of abuse by the insurance carrier on any given case. Most people don't come to our office unless the employer/insurance carrier is doing something wrong or isn't doing something they should be doing. Most people don't want to hire an attorney and go through a litigation process. They do it because they have no other choice. I will ensure the constituents of all lawmakers who vote for this bill are aware their elected officials don't care about them and will do whatever I can, to ensure those lawmakers do not get reelected. As a Republican, I urge all GOP lawmakers to take a step back and put party politics aside. Do what is right for Iowans. Vote no on this bill.
03-03-2017
Ellen Wellington []
CON
I do not support this bill. This bill does not help injured workers. I urge all lawmakers to vote no on this bill.
03-03-2017
Melinda Dvorak []
CON
VOTE NO!!!
03-03-2017
Jaclyn Quimby []
CON
I currently work as a paralegal in a law firm representing injured workers, although I started my career working in a firm that practiced in workers compensation defense on behalf of the insurance carriers and employers. I have seen both sides of the fence. Yes, I have seen abuse carried out in the workers compensation system, however, it is not being carried out by the claimant and their attorneys. The abuse is happening TO the injured workers across the state. The abuse occurs when you are not able to obtain the necessary medical treatment that your doctor has recommended, for weeks, or months, because the insurance carrier will not provide the necessary authorization. The abuse occurs when you cannot obtain the prescriptions the authorized doctor has prescribed, because the authorization is not provided when you go to the pharmacy. The abuse occurs when your weekly benefits are days, or weeks, late because the insurance adjuster forgot, was out of the office, or there was a glitch in the computer system. In addition to representing injured workers, I am also a Republican and have voted Republican for the last 18 years. The idea that my own party is pushing this bill through without blinking an eye is so disturbing to me. To know the ramifications this bill would have, not only for injured workers in Iowa, but for ALL taxpayers and the GOP does not seem to care or be willing to take a step back and THINK about that astonishing. I urge you to vote No on this bill.
03-03-2017
Anonymous []
CON
I am a republican who opposes this bill as it will shift the cost of work injuries from business to the taxpayer. It is corporate welfare at its zenith.
03-03-2017
Ian Wellington []
CON
Vote no!
03-03-2017
Kelli [Harrison]
CON
I strongly oppose this bill
03-03-2017
Anonymous []
CON
I strongly oppose this bill, and I would like to take a few minutes of your time to explain why. I was able to watch some of the talking points via social media on Wednesday, March 1. I was absolutely appalled by the description of the socalled abuses the insurance companies and employers portrayed by injured workers and their attorneys. Do you really think it would be necessary for an injured worker to obtain an attorney if, in fact, the system wasnt being abused by the employer? I work with injured workers every day. I can tell you first hand about the calls I receive. In the short time I have worked in workers compensation, two injured workers lost their homes, and another had me send letters to his landlord because he couldnt pay his rent. Why? Because their employer and insurance company were not taking care of them even though they tell you they do. I have never seen a mileage check voluntarily show up on the injured workers behalf. I receive calls all of the time due to late benefit checks. I have heard grown men cry because they cant afford their medications, or worse, take care of their families. I am asked all the time, What do I do, this is the only job I have ever known? I fail to see how the employer or insurance carriers are victims in this system. If you approve this legislation I can foresee these calls getting much, much worse. I do not understand cutting off benefits at age 67 would benefit anyone other than insurance companies and the employers. It would hurt me personally because I am a tax payer. As a tax payer, some of my tax dollars rightfully go to the needy. However, I fail to see why I should pay the bill because the employers and insurance companies feel their profits arent high enough. This is shifting the responsibility to tax payers.Again, I ask you to take the time to carefully examine this bill, and listen to the workers and vote NO. This isnt about taking advantage of the system, it is about taking care of the injured working class.
03-04-2017
Virginia Meyer []
CON
Vote no. This bill shifts costs from employers to tax payers. This is corporate welfare. It is an attack on workers rights. It punishes people who have put in a lifetime of work as their health and vigor are drained by that very work.
03-04-2017
Tony Reid [Retired]
CON
This bill is an ugly attempt to take us back to the 19th century with no worker protections. It especially targets the working poor. Why do Republicans pick on the people who are working full time at back breaking work for minimum wage? Why do they support wage theft? Why do they want to hold down the minimum wage?
03-04-2017
Anonymous []
CON
Workers' Compensation benefits should not be reduced! Nor should benefits be determined by your age at the time an injury occurs.
03-04-2017
Bev Philpott []
CON
Yet another attack on the workers of Iowa. YOu may be able to attract employers to the state by doing this, but the employees are going to move out of state and go where there are better working conditions. This will NOT reduce the "brain drain" from Iowa to places like Minnesota.
03-04-2017
Anonymous [Mrs.]
CON
I think this is another terrible bill!! It benefits insurance companies and greedy employers, in my opinion!It is in the same league as the bill recently passed and signed by the Governor which gutted the 40 year long practice of fair and joint collective bargaining for Public Employees limiting bargaining only to BASE salaries. In my opinion, the people who do all of the work in our state should be properly paid and compensated, especially if they were hurt doing their work.
03-04-2017
krysten reid []
PRO
I do not see anything untoward in this bill.
03-05-2017
Peggy Gingerich []
CON
Here is another example where your policy does not support the people of Iowa, but instead only supports corporations. We obviously cannot count on our state to protect our health and safety at work. I guess if people get seriously injured on the job, they might as well just lie down and die, since they will not be able to support themselves. That is not the state I want to live in.Do your job, which is passing legislation to help the people of Iowa, you know, the ones who vote.
03-05-2017
Jill Sudak-Allison []
CON
I think this is another terrible bill!! It benefits insurance companies and greedy employers, This is in the same league as the bill recently passed and signed by the Governor which gutted the 40 year long practice of fair and joint collective bargaining for Public Employees limiting bargaining only to BASE salaries. Employees need to be supported. Voters will remember how the GOP and dark money had bankrupt our state morally and financially.
03-05-2017
Susan mrzena []
CON
Because of workers compensation laws employers often look out for the safety of their workers . Without that safeguard we are at the mercy of employers who are looking for cost savings. In myparticular case I had to sue my employer to get my workers comp claim Approved. I worked for central Iowa employment and training consortium. Better known as CIETC. My claim for PTSD after being attacked by supervisor of our boards brother in the workplace for being a whistleblower was not reported by the employer and Then was denied. I did win. We need to purchase our workers
03-05-2017
Tyler Higgs [N/A]
CON
Why do you hate the working class?
03-05-2017
Barry Wilson []
CON
This bill severely undercuts workman's compensation and would hurt many legitimate claims for Iowa workers. There is no evidence that the playing field is currently tilted in favor of workers. I've worked in the packing house in Perry and know what repetitive motion can do to some people. Tyson would never compensate workers hurt on the job of they could get away with it. This bill tilts for Tyson and similar companies that abuse workers.
03-05-2017
Mary Jo Petersen [Iowa Citizen]
CON
I strongly oppose this bill. Please vote NO. I have had to deal with a work comp work injury several years ago. The insurance company and employer own your care. If there is abuse in work comp it is from the employer and insurance company not following the rules. I beg you to research what this bill is and what it will change. Do not make changes that will hurt the entire workforce of Iowa. Is there really data to show widespread abuse? Please research, use data, share your data with the public and prove that there is a problem. We are aware of the outside forces pushing to destroy the Iowa workforce. Don't fall for it stand for Iowa, don't set us back 50 years. Please vote NO.
03-05-2017
Deborah Vaughan [individual]
CON
It is unacceptable to slant workman's comp so strongly toward business. Our program has an A rating and should not be changed. This plays into the hands of outside influences and is quite simply inhumane. What has happened to Iowa Nice? If, indeed the legislature is working for the people, this is no example of that. Please do not make this into law.
03-05-2017
Aileen Osborn [Mrs.]
CON
This is an appalling attack on injured workers in Iowa, who will usually have no other recourse. Why would you wish to discriminate against hard working folks, and give a welfare gift to insurance companies and corporations? The taxpayers will then pay for the workers who will be forced onto Medicaid and Social Security Disability. How can you justify such legislation? You claim to love all the hard working folks, and this is terribly unfair to them. Working voters will remember this slap in the face and wallet. You should be ashamed to even consider voting for this bill.
Attachment
03-05-2017
Renae Henderson []
CON
I am opposed to this bill. This is another attack on the working men and women of this state. I do not honestly know how the lawmakers supporting this bill can sleep at night. Obviously you have never had to work a laborious job. One that takes a toll on the human body. One that sometimes, through no fault of your own, results in you being injured and requiring medical treatment. If you had, you would never support this bill.
03-06-2017
Richie Tague []
CON
This bill is bad for Iowa. We have a system in place that works for the workers and management. We need to keep this in place in order to have a good workforce here in the state. This shows workers that they are not valued in the State. Please vote no on this terrible bill.
03-06-2017
Lisa Cunningham []
CON
I have a family member who is battling injuries sustained on the job. These injuries will affect him the rest of his life and workman's comp has helped pay the medical bills. I do not understand why the GOP legislature refuses to work across the aisle with their fellow democrats to make a the workman's comp program work better. If there are improvements that can be made, take the time to make them. Instead there is a scorched earth method to the GOP's madness. Ram any and all bills through regardless of the effect on Iowa's hardworking middle class. If you truly cared about Iowa citizens who are hurt on the job, do your job and take a thoughtful, bipartisan approach to it rather than let corporations write the bill for you in their favor.
03-06-2017
Bob Brown [Citizen/Tax payer]
CON
I oppose the proposed changes to worker's compensation. Your actions will lead to more uncovered injuries in the workforce.
03-06-2017
Lynn Gallagher []
CON
Our workman'c compensation system is working well. We should not change it to reduce protection for workers.
03-06-2017
Anonymous [voter.]
CON
This bill does nothing to protect our workers who have to beatup their bodies to make a living for themselves and their families. Big Business does not need protections from their workers, their profits are at an all time high. This bill is unfair and shameful.
03-06-2017
Linda Schneider [Indivisible Iowa SD44/HD87&88]
CON
I feel the Iowa's workers' compensation system already works well. We have received an "A" grade from the Insurance Journal in 2015.I handled workers' compensation claims at my former job. I saw it work well and was fair to both employer and employee. This bill is onesided and gives many employers new advantages, while taking away the rights of injured workers.Changes like this need to be fully considered, not jammed through in little more than a week. This issue potentially affects a lot of people and the legislature makes it seem very unimportant and not worthy of consideration. You should look out for our states' employees more than that. As citizens, we have to ask why the panel that normally handled labor issues did not handle this bill? All in all, it doesn't seem like some the legislature wants a lot of discussion on worker issues.Why do you continue to gut workers' rights in Iowa? You need to look out for your citizens and this bill does not do that.Please VOTE NO on this bill for all employees' sakes. Thank you for listening!
03-06-2017
Stephen Toothman []
CON
Iowas workers compensation system already works well and received an A grade from the Insurance Journal in 2015. The bill is onesided, giving employers many new advantages while taking rights away from injured workers. Sweeping changes to a system affecting thousands of people should be thoroughly discussed, not rammed through the legislature in little more than a week. The bill is unfair to workers who become disabled for life on the job. The bill is especially unfair to older workers or those who are overweight. Although many shoulder injuries occur in meatpacking plants, this bill would make it almost impossible for injured workers to file successful workers compensation claims. By creating grounds to deny many legitimate workplace injury claims, this bill would shift costs onto taxpayers, who ultimately pay for Medicaid and Social Security disability programs.
03-06-2017
Arnold Michael Lane [100% disabled ]
CON
Please vote "No" on the workers' compensation bill (HSB 169 / SSB 1170). Iowans desperately need this insurance coverage and this bill would destroy the system. The bill cuts off benefits for workers at 67, it allows insurance companies to deny claims if a worker is overweight or over 40, it creates new avenues for insurance companies to get away with delaying payments and denying legitimate claims, and it slashes coverage for common shoulder injuries. Employers already have low costs and see few claims, this bill just rigs the system for them. If you pass this bill you are destroying insurance coverage that EVERY Iowan relies on, regardless of where they work. If employers don't have to cover work injuries, taxpayers will. I was injured on the job and as a result lost the job that I had done most of my life. Part of my injuries were bilateral shoulders. It is my understanding that that the current legislature would not cover shoulder injuries in the same way and, potentially, reduce the benefits by more than . As an injured worker, I relied on these benefits to support my family. The insurance company did not pay all of my weekly benefits on a timely basis. When a benefit check is a few days late you can adjust and deal with this but when it the weekly checks were delayed or stopped without an explanation, this was a cause of concern. This bill takes away one of the incentives for insurance companies to pay benefits on time. I continue to deal with issues regarding payment of my medical bills. Currently, I am dealing with a bill of the authorized medical provider from June 2016 that still has not been covered by the insurance carrier without any explanation. Please vote "No
03-06-2017
Thomas A. Palmer [IAJ]
CON
On behalf of the injured workers of Iowa, whom I have represented for 28 years, I oppose this bill.
03-06-2017
Douglas Collins
CON
I will introduce a client.
03-06-2017
Jean Dickson [Betty, Neuman & McMahon, PLC]
PRO
I am an attorney in Eastern Iowa, having been admitted to the bar in 1992. I have represented employers (both self insured and insurance through insurance companies) for over 20 years. I have seen first hand the deterioration of confidence in the system and changes are necessary and essential. Multiple examples exist. I have defended cases where the employee returned to full employment, yet my client has faced an award as high as permanent total disability (lifetime). Others have resulted in substantial awards notwithstanding no corresponding loss of earnings and continued employment. Commutations have been awarded despite an injured worker's history of foreclosure. An adjustment is needed to establish a more fair, balanced approach.
03-06-2017
Kent Sovern [AARP]
CON
We are registered undecided on the bill but have concerns with the agebased eligibility shutoff provision.
03-06-2017
Anonymous []
CON
This measure is not good for Iowa workers.
03-06-2017
Anonymous []
CON
There is no need to weaken worker's comp. employees should have the right to a safe workplace
03-06-2017
Shelly A Silver [AFSCME Local 3289]
CON
I strongly disagree with the provisions of this bill. The proposed changes will detrimentally affect injured workers. When people are injured on the job, workers compensation is their ONLY remedy. Many injured workers cannot return to work or cannot return to the job they held at the time of their injuries. This bills takes away benefits these injured workers need to survive. The proposed changes will significantly reduce the workers ability to support themselves and their families. Iowans desperately need workers' compensation insurance coverage when they have been injured and this bill would destroy the system. The bill cuts off benefits for workers at 67, it allows insurance companies to deny claims if a worker is overweight or over 40, it creates new avenues for insurance companies to get away with delaying payments and denying legitimate claims, and it slashes coverage for common shoulder injuries. Employers already have low costs and see few claims, this bill just rigs the system for them. If you pass this bill you are destroying insurance coverage that EVERY Iowan relies on, regardless of where they work. If employers don't have to cover work injuries, taxpayers will. Please vote "No."
03-06-2017
Anonymous []
CON
I urge you to vote against this bill. It will hurt injured workers by stopping workers compensation at age 67 and slashes benefits for common workplace injuries.
03-07-2017
Anonymous [constituent of Chapman and Watts ]
CON
I am opposed to HF518 and ask Senator Chapman and Rep. Ralph Watts to oppose this bill. Please listen to your constituents who expressed good reason for opposition at your Saturday meeting in Panora. Its a complicated bill with many bad ramifications. It should not be considered or voted on at this time.
03-07-2017
James van Howe []
CON
Are working people really taking advantage of companies when demanding fair compensation for injuries on dangerous jobs? This is hard to believe. I'm interested to hear evidence from the commenters from Tyson, Bridgestone, and other Iowans (not politicians) on their take. Ideally, I would hope any workplace would respect their employees and foster morale and benefits so that these lawsuits wouldn't be needed (or at least be less frequent). The need for such legislation to me speaks ill of a functional workplace. Productivity and profits are typically better when employees feel needed, respected, and protected. Rather than antagonistic legislative code, perhaps a better approach to lowering cost and maximizing profits would simply be better workplace management.
03-07-2017
Anonymous [Medix Occupational Health]
CON
The work comp system we have in place is a balanced system. Lawmakers should not make wild changes due to who is currently in power. This bill will put more workers out of work and off of insurance and will increase the number of people applying for and on disability benefits. This means that the tax payers will be having a larger burden to carry. As far as costs, Iowa is right in the middle of all the states. We are by no means the most expensive. Please think about what you are about to do to the many hard working Iowans that want to work and be productive. Stand up and protect the workers of Iowa.
03-07-2017
Kevin Benson [Self]
CON
How I suffered a diabilating injury on Feb. 14, 2014 a day after I turned 65 yrs. old. I broke my arm and it did not heal, the ball of my shoulder died because of lack of circulation. I had to have total shoulder replacement on Aug. 8 2014. After that, I have suffered many setbacks with my shoulder, I am currently on a waiting list for more follow up surgery at Mayo Clinic. I will not be able to get adequate healthcare if you take away my work comp. because I turned 68 years old. I am doomed to the rest of my life with terrible pain because of an accident at work and I just turned to old.
03-07-2017
Risa Dotson Eicke [Hoefer Law Firm PLLC]
CON
I work with people who have been injured at work, and I think this bill is unfair to Iowa's workers. Please do not cut off benefits at age 67 who are left permanently disabled after a workplace injury. Do not allow insurance companies to deny claims based on age, weight and preexisting conditions. Do not slash benefits for shoulder injuries. Our state has one of the best workers' compensation systems in the nation with a balance between benefits for workers and low costs for businesses. I am not in favor of shifting the cost burden onto taxpayers and workers.
03-07-2017
Marcy Wilfon []
CON
I am adamantly opposed to this bill. Vote NO. Work Comp benefits have always been slanted toward the employer and insurance even at its best. This bill would increase that slant even farther leaving the employee left hanging. This bill does not represent Iowans. It only benefits employers and insurance co. It is corporate welfare. Perhaps you should check out the proposers of this bill and find out which campaign contributor they are really working for, because it obviously isn't the Iowa worker
03-07-2017
Anonymous []
CON
I urge you to vote no to HF 518/SF 435 which aim to drastically alter the workers compensation system in Iowa. I believe this bill is bad for Iowa workers and bad for Iowa taxpayers. This legislation is bad for Iowa workers. The Iowa workers compensation system is a carefully drafted and balanced system that is the result of a bargain struck decades ago between Iowa workers and Iowa businesses. As part of this bargain, Iowa workers long ago forfeited their right to sue for negligence and seek damages for pain and suffering caused by workplace injuries. In exchange, they are guaranteed medical care and replacement wages. For many workers in Iowa, this system works and it is their lifeline. The legislation you are considering today cuts off this lifeline and undoes the careful balance of interests that is at the core of the current workers compensation system. It severely caps benefits for serious injuries and prevents injured workers from having the ability to save for retirement. This legislation is bad for Iowa taxpayers. Currently employers who are responsible for workplace injury are responsible for the costs of workplace injuries. That is how it should be. The changes proposed to the workers compensation system will shift that financial burden to the taxpayer. If injured workers are cut off from accessing the financial remedies they are due for an injury, those workers will be forced to seek state funded benefits like Medicaid, food stamps, housing and heating assistance. I grew up in Iowa. I spent the first 23 years of my life being educated in the Iowa way the Iowa work ethic; Iowa humility; Iowa kindness. I then left Iowa for nearly a decade and realized that those werent just lines that parents and teachers were feeding us to make us feel worthy. Those things were true about Iowans. We work hard. We care for our neighbor. We treat others with respect. I came back to Iowa nearly 5 years ago and I still believe Iowa stands for those values. But this workers compensation legislation sends the wrong message to Iowans. It sends the message that this state doesnt care about hard work. It sends the message that this state doesnt care about taking care of our neighbor. This legislation does not represent who we are as Iowans. It is bad for injured workers. It is bad for taxpayers. It is bad for our state. Please do what is good for all of Iowa and vote no to HF 518/SF 435.
03-07-2017
Jean Kaul [Concerned Iowa Citizen]
CON
I am strongly against the adoption of HF518 (Senate Study Bill 1170). Here's some reasons why: Iowas workers compensation system already works well and received an A grade from the Insurance Journal in 2015. The bill is onesided, giving employers many new advantages while taking rights away from injured workers. Sweeping changes to a system affecting thousands of people should be thoroughly discussed, not rammed through the legislature in little more than a week. By creating grounds to deny many legitimate workplace injury claims, this bill would shift costs onto taxpayers, who ultimately pay for Medicaid and Social Security disability programs.It appears as though the goal of the House and Senate is to destroy the rights of workers as quickly as possible this legislative session with little to no feedback from the public on the bills hence, the short turnaround on the bill being debated this evening. And again, this appears to be a case of fixing a nonexistent problem, rather than helping working Iowans and their families.