(Chicago, IL) — June 28, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that overhauls of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system and claimed that the new law will save Illinois businesses between $500 and $750 million dollars.
“We began this process months ago with the belief that we needed to maintain essential protections for injured workers, while ensuring that the system treats our businesses fairly,” said Quinn, who the Governor who flew to four Illinois towns–Melrose Park, Rockford, Champaign, and Marion–to highlight the signing of the reforms.
Illinois currently has some of the highest workers’ compensation premiums in the nation, and the new law reduces the medical fee schedule by 30%, which will save employers up to $500 million – as much as 14.9% in premiums, Quinn says.
The law also requires that physicians and arbitrators to use standards set by the American Medical Association when determining impairment and disability. It also creates workers’ compensation provider networks to ensure that employees receive cost-effective treatment that improves patient outcomes.
Quinn’s signature on the bill drew praised from Dan Ustian, the Chairman and CEO, of Navistar.
“The bill the Governor signed today is an important first step toward creating a system that enables Navistar and other Illinois businesses to be more competitive and productive going forward,” said Ustian.
“These reforms demonstrate that Governor Quinn and our state leaders are paying attention to the needs of business and that they are serious about growing our economy.”
Meanwhile, the legislation has drawn strong criticism from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
“To say we’ve reformed the workers’ comp system is a gross overstatement,” Madigan said during a recent interview with the Belleville News-Democrat.
“Because the causation standard is fairly low, the work accident doesn’t need to be the sole cause, or even a primary cause of the employee’s injury,” Madigan added.
State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) and State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) sponsored the legislation and drew the key support from Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).