Separate investigations into changes in the workers’ compensation system nationwide found that cutbacks were hurting injured workers and their families. Separate investigations into changes in the workers’ compensation system nationwide found that cutbacks were hurting injured workers and their families.
Nearly a year ago, ProPublica set out to investigate the extent of changes to America’s workers’ compensation system and the impact they were having on injured workers.
Around the same time, researchers at the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration independently decided to do the same thing.
On Wednesday, to our surprise, we published our story and OSHA released its report. Both detailed a system decimated by state lawmakers across the country.
Our investigation, in partnership with NPR, found that since 2003, more than 30 states have cut workers’ comp benefits, created hurdles to getting medical care or made it harder to qualify. The changes have resulted in devastating consequences for some of the hundreds of thousands of workers who suffer serious injuries at work each year.
The reductions in benefits have been driven largely by big businesses and insurers, which cite out-of-control costs. But we found that businesses are paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp insurance since the late 1970s. The costs are being shifted to taxpayers, who shell out an estimated $30 billion a year in medical costs and lost wages not covered by workers’ comp.