WCRI Recap – 3 Part Series
- WCRI Recap – Impact of Donald Trump and 2016 Election
- WCRI Recap: 3 Factors That Most Impact Worker Outcomes
- WCRI Recap: Single Biggest Factor To Turn-Around Opioid Crisis
It’s been two weeks and you still haven’t gotten it done, or maybe you have. I don’t really know, but it’s been two weeks since the WCRI Conference recently held in Boston. Just a real friendly reminder. If there were things that you were supposed to follow-up with, conversations you had, business cards you got were sent from someone, or a tasks you were supposed to do, and if you haven’t done it yet, just get that in your calendar today and get that taken care of.
I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx, and today I want to give you some highlights and recap from that recent conference from the notes that I took and the perspective that I had on it.
A real quick, just personal story. It’s been an exciting couple weeks for me since that conference. My family and I, I think that some people know that we moved up to Kennebunkport, Maine, just last year. We tried to buy a house, and there were all kinds of challenges. The inspection was a challenge. There were all sorts of other things going on, and it just didn’t work out. We had to move into a short-term rental, and we finally closed on our new house just last Friday. We’re super pumped. It was a great, exciting weekend. The kids are pumped. The families pumped, and the kids took the bus from the new house today. When I was trying to look for my suits this morning, and I couldn’t find them so no suit coat today.
Impact of 2016 Election: Senator Tom Coburn & Congressman Henry Waxman
Let’s talk about this conference. There’s four sessions that I want to cover here. First one was the impact of the 2016 election. There was really two main points that they talked about. The guests were former Senator Tom Coburn who is a republican persuasion and former U.S. House of Representative’s Henry Waxman which was a democratic persuasion, very strong and polarizing opinions. Two main topics that were talked about. I’m going to try to run through this as quickly as I possibly can and summarize it to hit the main points.
Donald Trump Relationship With Congress
I broke it down really into two main topics. It was Trump they talked about, and they talked about the ACA. I know a lot has happened in the last two weeks with the ACA and the Republicans presenting their new plan. I’m not a hugely political guy so I’m not going to talk about really what those recent events are. It’s out of my area of expertise, but I will cover what they talked about at that conference itself.
First top thing they talked about was Trump, and there was two things they talked about were really executive orders that he did. He implemented a lot of executive orders after coming into office and then his relationship of Congress. The question really with this executive order is in the biggest … the first point that they hit during that discussion was one of those orders. Whenever a new regulation is implemented, two regulations have to be abolished so one implemented, two abolished. They weren’t sure what that impact would have.
Second thing was really this relationship with Congress. I think it’s something everyone in Washington is watching and trying to figure out how this is going to work between the Executive Branch and the Congress. One thing that they did talk about and really there was this fear, and Congressman Waxman talked about this, was there was this fear that Trump was just going to defer to Congress and rather than driving the ship as maybe past presidents have. There was a fear to defer to Congress but then in the same conversation, they talked about really how power … they felt that power, and Senator Coburn was talking about this, how power has shifted too much to the Executive Branch and how these laws are written. There will be these big, thick laws and the Congress men and women are passing these laws. They don’t understand even what every stipulation has to impact, what the impact will be, or even what it is itself. There’ll be a lot of words that will say, well, whatever the Secretary deems appropriates. They felt like too much power was being given to the Executive Branch. That was basically the discussion. It talked about a lot of different political opinions. It was very interesting discussion, but those were the main points regarding Trump and the Congress relationship.
Affordable Care Act
Next, they moved into the ACA. They were talking about this again very political discussion, Senator Coburn with a republican persuasion and Congressman Waxman with a democratic persuasion. There was basically boil it down to two things to keep it as simple as possible. Senator Coburn said, “We need freedom. People need freedom. We need a free marketplace.” He referenced the Amish community a number of different times. He talked about how the Amish buy healthcare, and they buy it for cash. They go in, negotiate the best price with the best providers, and pay a significantly lower price by negotiating up front in a free market type system.
Congressman Waxman said, “The safety net is going to be slashed.” He quoted Trump and said, “It’s going to be a disaster.” You know how this ACA discussion goes, very heated, very interesting to hear their perspectives, and a lot has even happened in the last couple weeks since that presentation. That was very political, but didn’t have much impact on work comp during this discussion.
Federal Government & Workers’ Compensation
The meat of the work comp discussion was talking about this Department of Labor report. This report was issued back in October of 2015. There were eight congressmen and women that signed this and said, “We’re worried about work comp, and the amount of benefits that have been reduced, and how it’s taking from SSDI, and we need to have a renewed interest from the Federal Government in work comp.” Very big concern for us in our industry of what that’s going to impact so the question was asked was now that this new administration is in place, is this sentiment or is this fear still the same? It was an almost comical response.
They said, “We got a lot going on. Sure, work comp industry, great, we love you guys but you’re just not that important, and we have a lot of other things on our plate in Washington that we really don’t think we’re going to be getting or having any interest in the work comp industry”, so very short and almost comical response to this Department of Labor report and the Federal Government’s potential interest in the work comp industry.
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Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices.
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