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Illinois lawmakers voted Thursday to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a package of budget bills but did not move forward on workers compensation reform.
The Illinois House of Representatives was able to override vetoes on Senate bills 6, 9 and 42, which cover spending, tax increases and the budget implementation.
On the workers comp reform front, House Bill 4068, which proposed a drug formulary, saw no forward movement. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, proposed a Medicare-based fee schedule and would have capped maximum weekly benefits at $775.15 through 2021.
Other workers comp bills included House Bill 2525, which would have created a government insurance company to help regulate the marketplace, and House Bill 2622, which would have created the Illinois Employers Mutual Insurance Co., a state fund.
“Illinois’ volatile atmosphere means that the opportunity for beneficial workers' compensation reform is unlikely for the foreseeable future,” said Steve Schneider, Chicago-based vice president for state affairs, Midwest region, at American Insurance Association in an emailed statement Friday. “There are two bills (HB 2525 and HB 2622) still in play, but neither would address any of the real issues in Illinois' workers' compensation system, like the need to reduce costs for employers and improve medical care for injured workers. In fact, both bills penalize insurers and their customers; they do not enact beneficial reforms. We continue to urge the governor to protect the state’s workers by vetoing these proposals.”
Total cost per claim has decreased 6.4% since a reduction in medical fee schedule rates, but workers compensation costs in Illinois remain higher than other states, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.