Deconstructing workers’ comp

We agree that the state’s workers’ compensation system is a mess and needs reform, but we can only hope the state Legislature hammers out a better plan than the ballot initiative being touted by Gov. Schwarzenegger and, locally, Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale. That plan, supported by big business, the insurance industry and the California Chamber of Commerce, targets the workers the system is meant to protect rather than the true cause of the high costs.

While some employee fraud does taint the system, the real problems are skyrocketing medical costs, unregulated insurance rates and, in some cases, employer fraud.

As politically attractive as it may be, don’t pick on the workers and their attorneys. Look to the insurance companies, medical providers and unscrupulous employers. Such important and complex legislation should not be made at the ballot box, where the governor’s stamp of approval and 10-second sound bites targeting attorneys will most likely trump logic and sound arguments against a flawed plan.