Core Provisions: This legislation would create a National Commission on State Workers Compensation Laws to study and evaluate characteristics of current state workers compensation schemes including benefit amounts, bad faith delays in benefit payments, provisions ensuring adequate medical care and free choice of physician, rehabilitation, filing periods, waiting periods, compulsory or elective coverage, administration, due process rights, and the relationship between workers compensation and other types of insurance (public or private).
The Commission would be composed of 14 members, 10 of whom would be political appointees, no more than six of whom could be from the same political party. The Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Secretary of Education would be ex officio Commission members. The legislation requires at least three members that represent injured workers, three members that represent insurance carriers or employers, and one member of the general public.
The Commission would have the authority to hold hearings, issue subpoenas, take testimony, and receive evidence. The Commission could submit interim reports of its findings to the President and Congress, but would be required to submit a final report of its findings and recommendations not later than 18 months after the date of the statutes enactment, and the Commission would terminate 19 days after this final report is submitted. The final report would include the Commissions recommendations for improvements in benefit levels, medical care, administration of state workers compensation systems, insurance practices, due process and evidentiary hearings and reduction of bad faith handling and delays, as agreed upon by a majority of Commission members.
Status: Rep. Baca (D-CA) introduced the National Commission on State Workers Compensation Laws Act of 2009 on January 22, 2009 and it was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. Rep. Baca introduced identical legislation (H.R. 6714) in the 110th Congress on July 31, 2008, when it was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor and not acted upon thereafter.