Don’t Gut the Texas Workers’ Comp System

by Daily Policy Digest on March 24, 2017

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Senior Fellow Pamela Villarreal writes at NCPA’s Taxes and Retirement blog:

President Trump has some lofty goals for his first year in office, but during his first month in office, he spent ample time undoing many executive orders ushered in by the Obama administration. One particular area of concern was some controversial rules and actions from the Department of Labor.  Former Labor Secretary (now the Democratic National Committee Chairman) Tom Perez expressed concern about workers’ compensation laws in Texas and Oklahoma and called for an investigation.

Workers’ compensation is a government-mandated employee benefit program that covers three types of  benefits when a worker is injured on the job or has a work-related illness.  Each state has its own system, and while features of each system vary, they all must provide coverage of medical costs, replacement of lost wages and payment for death or dismemberment. An injured worker typically receives medical treatments paid for by the employer or employer’s insurance carrier; if the injury results in lost time from work (beyond a statutory waiting period) he or she receives wage replacement (indemnity) benefits; and in cases of permanent injury or death, the worker (or the worker’s family) is compensated.

Texas does not require firms to have workers’ compensation insurance, but instead allows them to manage their own workers’ injuries and benefits. Self-insuring can save firms millions of dollars in workers’ compensation costs that can be spent on other employee benefits and business expansion.

Secretary Perez took a dim view of these nonsubscriber programs, calling them a "pathway to poverty," based on claims that they pay fewer benefits, limit access to courts and access to medical treatment. Last spring he called for a federal investigation into the Texas plan and, at the time, the Oklahoma plan.  (The Oklahoma plan, which was passed 2013 has since been ruled unconstitutional by that state’s Supreme Court.)  Texas is now the only state that allows employers to choose not to subscribe to the very expensive workers’ compensation insurance system.

Recent media reports have accused the Texas opt out system of denying treatment and benefits that allegedly push injured workers into poverty. However, workers who allege lack of treatment and compensation for workplace injuries are not solely the outcome of opt out systems.  In Washington, workers at the Hanford cleanup site, owned by the Department of Energy, have complained about denial of medical treatments after being exposed to radioactive waste.  The California’s workers’ comp system has been accused of denying victims of the San Bernadino terrorist attack medical and psychological treatments.  In other words, the traditional workers’ compensation model is flawed, and the Texas model may be the solution for other states.

For decades, researchers have found a myriad of disincentive effects associated with state workers’ comp insurance systems that keep workers off the job for too long and on an eventual path to dependency on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system. Since SSDI pays a little less than a worker’s Social Security benefit, it is by no means a path to prosperity.  The most common reasons for workers’ comp claims are not obvious injuries that demand immediate medical attention, but musculoskeletal disorders, such as latent low back pain that develops from an injury.  Two years ago, researchers from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and the Center for Disability Research examined workers’ comp claims of low back pain from 49 states.  They found significant differences in cost and length of disability based on states’ workers’ compensation provisions.  For instance, in states that allowed employers choose the initial health care provider for the injured worker, average medical costs per injured worker were slightly lower.  Higher wage replacement rates were also associated with higher medical costs (in the U of M study, the average wage replacement rate was 68 percent).  States with limited choices in health care provider had a lower before wages are replaced was associated with an increase in the average length of disability (state average waiting periods ranged from three to seven days), while a shorter retroactive period (the number of disability days before the disabled worker receives benefits that retroactively cover the waiting period) was associated with a shorted length of disability.

While these findings may not convince skeptics of the benefits of nonsubscriber system like the Texas model, here are few more considerations: According to a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, most Texas nonsubscribers offer wage replacement rates of 85 to 100 percent.  Workers’ comp insurance systems typically cap benefits at a lower rate.  Also in the Texas model, 97 percent of employees returned to work within six months, compared to 83 percent in the state’s traditional workers’ comp insurance system.

The one requirement of the Texas nonsubscriber model that rattled the Obama Department of Labor was the 24-hour reporting requirement. Traditional workers’ compensation allows a worker up to 30 days to report an injury.  However, this 30-day reporting requirement can be problematic for an employer who may not be aware that a potential unsafe situation exists in the work environment, leaving open the possibility that another employee could become injured.  The Texas nonsubscriber model requires a 24-hour reporting period with a "good faith" clause, which allows employers to get workers medical treatment at the onset of the known injury and to rectify a potentially unsafe environment quickly.

Finally, unlike traditional workers’ compensation insurance, nonsubscribers are not protected from legal liability, so they are incentivized to provide a safe workplace.

Trump’s appointment for Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, is scheduled for his confirmation hearing tomorrow.  If he is confirmed, hopefully he will take a more collaborative approach to employers trying to manage the costs of a system that in many states is out of control while getting injured workers treated and back to work quickly.

For more on Economic Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/?Article_Category=17

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shutterstock_bathroom signs

There has been a lot of things in the news over the past year about the use of public bathrooms. Liberals have been pushing legislation and businesses to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice or the bathroom of the sex they claim to identify with. These liberals have no regard for the privacy of the vast majority of others in the United States, especially women.

Why should the desires of a few outweigh the rights of the many? It is beyond all sense of reason and a tell-tale sign of a rapidly decaying nation, just like allowing the perversions of a minority to outweigh the religious rights of the majority, but that’s what is happening in our nation these days.

When North Carolina conservatives moved to protect the privacy and rights of the majority, the liberals throughout the nation ran screaming and crying everywhere that their rights were being denied. What about the rights of the majority? Oh, that’s different, it’s okay to trample on and deny the rights of the majority but not the desires, which are not rights, of a few minorities.

Due to the liberal destruction of the moral and ethical values of our nation, many normal conservative Americans are being placed in a dilemma of how to cope, survive and maintain their values and rights.

Take the case of Kristen Quintrall who had the scare of her life at Disneyland. Here is her story in her words:

“I was at Disneyland with my son, my friend and her son. We were over in California Adventure in the food court area. We’d just finished eating and decided to pee before we headed out to The Little Mermaid. I went to the bathroom while she watched our boys in their strollers, and then I did the same. (For anyone who’s tried to fit a stroller in a bathroom stall, you get it).”

“I was off to the side waiting with the two boys, when I noticed a man walk into the restroom. My first thought was ‘Oh sh**, he’s walked in the wrong restroom by mistake. Lol’ He took a few more steps, at which point he would’ve definitely noticed all the women lined up and still kept walking. My next thought was, ‘Maybe he’s looking for his wife…or child and they’ve been in here a while.’ But he didn’t call out any names or look around. He just stood off to the side and leaned up against the wall. At this point I’m like, ‘WTF? Ok there is definitely a very large, burly man in a Lakers jersey who just walked in here. Am I the only one seeing this?’ I surveyed the room and saw roughly 12 women, children in tow, staring at him with the exact same look on their faces. Everyone was visibly uncomfortable. We were all trading looks and motioning our eyes over to him…like ‘What is he doing in here?’ Yet every single one of us was silent. And this is the reason I wrote this blog.”

This type of situation is beginning to happen more and more in today’s land of the liberals and perverts. Ever since the issue of transgender use of bathrooms and locker rooms has taken the spotlight, more sexual predators are taking advantage of the situation to carry out their perverted schemes.

Incidents like this show just how quickly our nation is going down the toilet. Quintrall points out the difference of time as she wrote:

“If this had been 5 years ago, you bet your ass every woman in there would’ve been like, ‘Ummm what are you doing in here?’, but in 2017? The mood has shifted. We had been culturally bullied into silenced. Women were mid-changing their baby’s diapers on the changing tables and I could see them shifting to block his view. But they remained silent. I stayed silent. We all did. Every woman who exited a stall and immediately zeroed right in on him…said nothing. And why? B/c I and I’m sure all the others were scared of that ‘what if’. What if I say something and he says he ‘identifies as a woman’ and then I come off as the intolerant asshole at the happiest place on earth? So we all stood there, shifting in our uncomfortableness…trading looks. I saw two women leave the line with their children. Still nothing was said. An older lady said to me out loud, ‘What is he doing in here?’ I’m ashamed to admit I silently shrugged and mouthed, ‘I don’t know.’ She immediately walked out, from a bathroom she had every right to use without fear.

This is a picture of today’s America that a few short years ago no one would have thought possible. It’s the sign of a decadent and decaying society that is racing downhill, heading out of control for a cliff to total destruction. It’s a nation I hate to leave to my children and grandchildren. All I can do is teach them the values and morals that made the nation great, show them what’s happening to those morals and values and encourage them to stand up and fight to return America to those morals and values that we, as a nation, have lost. If they don’t, what happened to Kristen Quintrall will become common place and no woman, girl, daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister or aunt will ever be safe again.

 

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Shotgun Packin’ Momma Frightens Off Intruder

by Lynn Jolly on March 24, 2017

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intruder

Have you ever heard of the warning about never getting between a mother bear and her cubs? It’s not just a saying, but it’s a truth that applies to many animals.

While watching nature programs, we’ve witnessed mother wildebeests attacking a pride of hungry African lions to protect her calf. We’ve seen videos of a mother elk attacking a pack of wolves to protect her calf. Many mothers will risk their lives to defend their young ones and humans are no different.

That’s what happened in Miami Gardens, Florida, recently when an as yet unidentified intruder tried to break into a house. What he didn’t count on was a mother determined to protect herself and her two kids, but he quickly found out she meant business. As the man broke into the home, he was confronted by a mom, who does not want to be named, carrying a shotgun. She was not going to let anything happen to her two kids, 3-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son. Looking down the barrel of the shotgun scared the intruder quickly fled the scene in a stolen Mercedes. The woman told the local media:

“All of a sudden I hear some banging noise…I,I, I thought it was maybe my dreams or something.”

Speaking of her two kids, she said:

“They were screaming and crying hysterically because they were afraid of either you know anything.”

That’s when she went to the bedroom and grabbed her shotgun. She confronted the total stranger and pointed the shotgun at him.

“He was running for his life and kept looking back, making sure I wasn’t going to shoot him in the back.”

The reporter asked her why she didn’t shoot and she responded:

“My kids. Not traumatizing them and I did have a baby.”

“I don’t sleep great at night, um any little noise I listen to I have to constantly look at the camera’s or look out the window.”

By cameras, she means the security cameras who caught the man breaking into her house, after brazenly parking on her front lawn. Police are still looking for the man and hoping that someone viewing the security video will recognize the man and report him to police.

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This woman reminds me of Sarah McKinley who, in 2011, used a handgun to ward off two intruders. At the time, McKinley was only 19-years-old, the mother of a four-month-old son and a widow as her young husband had died of cancer just a few months earlier. The two intruders knew she had recently buried her husband and came to her house to have their way with her and possibly more.

What would politicians like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Barbara Feinstein and Michael Bloomberg say to mothers like Sarah and the one in Miami Gardens? How do they continue to justify their push to ban guns from the American people?

My husband had occasion once to confront an anti-gun fanatic and he told the person about Sarah McKinley and then asked what would they have said to her had she not had her gun for protection? My husband pushed and asked the person to justify making it harder for women and moms to protect themselves and their kids. The person was speechless and had no answer. Then my husband asked the person how they would feel if it were a member of their family that was unable to protect themselves because of gun haters like themselves. The person just hung their head and said they wouldn’t like it at all. Then he asked what makes the loved ones of others any less important. The anti-gun fanatic finally admitted that they had never thought of it from this point of view and my husband said that’s exactly the point of view our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote and approved of the 2nd Amendment. It was the end of the conversation as the other person realized they could no longer defend their anti-gun position. He later found out the person bought a handgun and made sure the entire family knew how to use it in just such an emergency.

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security failure

The state uses its own security failure to implement more security measures that curtail freedom and don’t make us safer.

According to the Daily Mail, a major security failure may have contributed to the London terrorist attack.

Police were facing serious questions last night over how the knife-wielding terrorist was able to enter the Parliamentary estate.

There were unverified claims that no armed officers had been on duty at the main Carriage Gates, facing Parliament Square, which the Prime Minister uses to enter the House of Commons.

They are also used by other MPs, staff and visitors. At least four staff are usually stationed at the gates, two outside and two inside.

The entrance is also blocked by metal barricades and barriers. Although armed guards routinely patrol the grounds, they are not stationed permanently at a fixed position at the main gate. It is understood the officers work a ‘fluid’ patrol pattern so potential terrorists do not know where they are located.

Labour MP Mary Creagh urged the authorities to step up security following the atrocity.

‘The one weak spot on our estate is those Carriage Gates,’ she said. ‘We have four police officers there. Two on the gate going in, two on the gate going out. We see them every day, we’re friends with lots of them.

‘I think we will need to look at security at the Palace in the wake of this incident but this is a plan for another day. It’s a terrible, terrible day for Parliament.’

Will we be permitted to verify whether there was a security failure due to human error or neglect?

From what has happened in the United States, at least since 9/11, is this:

  1. The government massively fails in its duty to protect Americans.
  2. The people who had “responsibility” delegated to them to guard security are never blamed for the security failure, and are even sometimes promoted.
  3. The government investigates itself and determines the real problem is that it does not have enough money and power.
  4. New alleged “security measures” are implemented that cost a lot and oppress the American people.
  5. Repeat.

A relatively small example of this cycle was when TSA ineptitude in airport security led to them being given new direction to more invasively grope passengers.

I doubt the system works any differently in the United Kingdom. A recent example of how police fail to protect disarmed citizens indicates they have the same problems we do.

So, if this follows the pattern, the state will come up with new security procedures that don’t violate any of its values. In England, that means that the government will never even consider allowing people to possess firearms so they can protect themselves. It is more likely it will criminalize knife possession. Also, it probably won’t rethink its immigration policies.

Now that Brexit has passed, I’m slightly more optimistic that there might be a change in immigration policy. But I suspect the major focus in response to this security failure will be to refuse to hold anyone responsible and to come up with some new form of security theater.

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renegade Republicans

Those opposing Obamacare Lite are regarded as renegade Republicans, but they are the best allies the President has!

According to the media narrative, the renegade Republicans are the ones who refuse to vote for Paul Ryan’s replacement of Obamacare. Is that true? Or is Paul Ryan and those on his side the real renegades?

The Associated Press reports the renegade Republicans face dire consequences for refusing to vote for Ryan’s plan.

The scheduled roll call vote for the bill backed by President Donald Trump is a crucial first test of whether Republicans are willing to defy the White House and face the wrath of a president who has bragged about never forgetting a slight. Trump has shown he’s willing to use his megaphone and practiced counter-punch against his allies. But the vote comes as Trump’s poll numbers have slouched and his White House is consumed with damaging distractions.

A group of breakaway Republicans, including several members of the deeply conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Wednesday remain unbowed, taking comfort in the political safety they feel in their home districts.

Members are well aware they face possible primary threats if they vote against the bill the White House has cast as the only chance to make good on a GOP promise to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law.

This is not credible. The Republicans who refuse to vote for this odious bill should not be considered rebels. The real renegade Republicans are the ones who follow Paul Ryan in betraying the GOP base.

They aren’t going to face consequences. If Donald Trump is seen as having straddled the country and economy with Obamacare Lite, he will end up as a one-term President. Those seen as renegade Republicans are trying to save his presidency.

Paul Ryan’s role in this farce is painful to watch but not surprising. What is really shocking is the role of someone who is arguably more hated than Trump in the White House.

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told holdout lawmakers Wednesday: “You all have to vote for this. We’ve got to do this. I know you don’t like it, but you have to vote for this,” according to several representatives present. The comment came after Trump told a group Tuesday that “many of you will lose your seats in 2018” if Republicans don’t pass a health care bill.

The Republicans were given massive victories in 2010, 2014, and then in 2016. The promise to repeal Obamacare was behind all those triumphs. This behavior is self-destructive and delusional—delusional because they don’t admit to how they are betraying voters and damaging the Republican brand just when we have the power to fulfill our repeated promises. Worse, we will remove Obama’s name from the law and attach the Republican reputation to it. Whether the mess is called Ryancare or Trumpcare, Republicans will own it. Barack Obama and the Democrats will be off the hook!

The renegade Republicans who refuse to support this monstrosity are supporting Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and America.

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genderthisonetoo

A high school boy in Pennsylvania was humiliated and emotionally harmed by being forced to share a locker room and bathrooms with a transgender boy, according to a lawsuit filed by a top religious conservative group, which ripped an argument from the progressive playbook and turned it on its head.

“When he was standing in his underwear about to put his gym clothes on, he suddenly realized there was a member of the opposite sex changing with him in the locker room, who was at the time wearing nothing but shorts and a bra,” according to the complaint filed on Tuesday in US District Court.

“Plaintiff has experienced embarrassment and humiliation, both in terms of being viewed and viewing a student of the opposite sex in a state of undress and because of the stigmatization and criticism he received from other students and adults,” the complaint continues, noting that he “also fears the future embarrassment of meeting students of the opposite sex in the bathroom when simply relieving himself.”

After seeing the transgender boy partially undressed, Doe complained to school officials “that there was a girl in their locker room,” the lawsuit says. But the school principal allegedly told him that “students who mentally identify themselves with the opposite sex could choose the locker room and bathroom to use, and physical sex did not matter.”

The boy reportedly felt so uncomfortable by the threat of sharing locker rooms with the transgender boy that he didn’t change clothes before PE, instead opting to wear street clothes — which has “resulted in disciplinary action and poor grades.”

Keep reading

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<p/>HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 22: Host and Executive Producer James Corden and audience at PaleyFest LA 2017: An Evening of Laughs with James Corden & The Late, Late Show, presented by The Paley Center for Media, at the DOLBY THEATRE on March 22, 2017 in Hollywood, California.<br />
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						</a>When James Corden and the Executive Producers of “The Late Late Show” decide to make an appearance at PaleyFest, you run (mind the crosswalks) to the Dolby Theatre, as fast as you can. As The Paley Center for Media’s 34th annual fan-favorite festival is well under way, enthusiasts have been lining…</p>
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<p/>Mike Melinoe releases “Neighborhood Goat”<br />
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						</a>Coming off a run of performances at SXSW earlier this month, Detroit’s own Mike Melinoe has released a new song, “Neighborhood Goat.”<br />
“Where I’m from, you must aspire to be a goat of the neighborhood. So that one day the world will know who raised you,” Melinoe said of the track. The song, with…</p>
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Everything’s bigger in Texas, including its fighters. This Friday, March 24, the Legacy Fighting Alliance will put some hotshot MMA prospects to the test during LFA 7, airing live from Houston, Texas on AXS TV. For the main event, flyweight Klayton “The Python” Mai (8-2) will take on the undefeated…

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Ed Sheeran currently owns the pop music scene and now he’s receiving some impressive recognition for his spectacular songwriting efforts. Per Billboard, the “Shape of You” singer was recently named as the latest recipient of the Songwriters Hall of Fame 2017 Hal David Starlight Award. This…

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