True to my prediction in October, in an email the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce is bemoaning a 22 decrease in workers’ compensation costs in Nebraka over the last five years
These lamentations may turn into legislation to shift the costs of work injuries onto workers, Medicaid, Medicare. Social Security and private health insurance as the Nebraska legislature convenes this week.
I am referring to the results of the 2018 Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium ranking which show that Nebraska and Iowa essentially changed spots from the 2016 study. According to the study, Iowa’s workers’ compensation premiums are slightly lower than Nebraska’s. Iowa enacted anti-worker changes to their workers’ compensation laws in 2017. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who signed the anti-worker reforms, was criticized for accepting a plane ride to an Iowa State Cyclones bowl game from workers’ compensation claims administrator Sedgwick.
Overall, Nebraska remains a friendlier legal climate for business than Iowa, according to the pro-business Institute for Legal Reform. Nebraska ranks 7th while Iowa ranks 13th according to the last study.
Business interests like to gripe that workers’ compensation costs cause business to leave state’s with high costs. But the same Nebraska Chamber of Commerce griping about workers’ compensation costs in Nebraska is also complaining that there are more jobs than workers in Nebraska. Lack of jobs isn’t a problem in Nebraska like it might be in other states.
Workers’ compensation protects injured workers. In Nebraska the cost of this protection has declined for business and has not led the state to lose jobs. There are no good reasons to reduce workers’ compensation benefits in Nebraska.