Workers' Comp Changes Might Get Scuttled

A push by Florida’s business community to tackle the state’s workers’ compensation insurance laws could be poised to fail again this year.

As legislators near the midway point of the 60-day session, the possibility is fading that groups representing major corporations, retailers and small businesses can win changes to the complicated system designed to provide health benefits to injured workers.

A House panel this week unanimously approved a proposal (HB 1399) that could result in a 5 percent reduction in the workers’ compensation insurance rates paid by employers.

Much of the savings would be derived by changing how insurance companies reimburse health providers. The bill, if it became law, would tie payments to rates established for Medicare, a proposal opposed by some health providers.

But business lobbyists say the legislation is missing one key feature they desperately crave: caps on the fees charged by attorneys representing injured workers.

Caps are part of a Senate workers’ compensation bill. But there wasn’t enough support this week in a Senate committee to pass the bill, according to people involved in negotiations.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida and the National Federation of Independent Business, among others, want lawmakers to reinstate

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