For millions of injured workers, workers' compensation insurance means a broken bone or sprained muscle doesn’t result in bankruptcy.
But a coalition of nearly two dozen corporations is fighting to overturn workers’ comp laws throughout the nation.
As Mother Jones reports:
The companies have financed a lobbying group, the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers' Compensation (ARAWC), that has already helped write legislation in one state, Tennessee. Richard Evans, the group's executive director, told an insurance journal in November that the corporations ultimately want to change workers' comp laws in all 50 states.
Workers’ compensation laws help protects workers and business owners by obligating the employer to pay an injured employee’s medical bills, while protecting the company against lawsuits.
Only two states, Texas and Oklahoma, let employers opt out of workers’ comp.
But big-money lobbyists at ARAWC are pushing to add more to the list, including Tennessee, where friendly legislators have already introduced an ARAWC-supported bill.
According to Mother Jones:
When ARAWC targets a state, it moves aggressively. In Tennessee, the group has spent more than $50,000 deploying lobbyists to push its legislation. Evans says that state Sen. Mark Green, who introduced the opt-out bill, was already working on the legislation before ARAWC started pushing for it. But a February blog post written by an executive at Sedgwick, an insurance company that helped found ARAWC, suggests the group played a more active role. In the post, the executive boasts that ARAWC ‘secured a highly respected bill sponsor’—presumably Green—to introduce the bill, which the group "assisted in drafting.
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