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Why I am a Republican

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  • Why I am a Republican

    Ok, here goes. I open myself up to debate. (Key word: debate.) As I said before, I don't want to argue, attack and be attacked. But let's discuss.

    I admit that I am more concerned with the "social" issues of abortion and gay marriage. Let's not get into those. This board has been down that road before.

    What I do want to get into is judge appointments. From my view, the liberal judges are doing a lot of harm to this country. Now, I really could not care less about the pledge of allegiance or the 10 Commandments being posted on a building. I really don't under stand the concern on either side of the argument.

    Now, what I can discuss, in great detail, is the workers' compensation system here in the U.S. Arnold had it right when one of the first things he did when elected was work to reform the California work comp system. It was, and still is--but not to the same degree--a big job. Businesses were being forced out of the state due to the high costs of comp insurance. What was and is being paid on California comp claims is a joke. I have seen it over and over again.

    What is the cause of this: liberal judges in the work comp system. A good friend of mine here in Illinois is a Democrat and a comp attorney. He voted for our current govenor, but he says that he will not in the next election, as Blagovich is ruining the comp system here. Judges do not look at evidence, and he has ruined the appeal system for the employers. Nobody is saying that injured workers should not be taken care of, but fraudulent and exaggerated claims should not have to be paid.

    So, this is one area where I am staunchly conservative and I think it has a huge impact on this country.

    Well, there you have it. I'm willing to get into this. I don't want people to think that I'm not willing to listen to other opinions and examine my own (which I have been after reading Mike's post on the other thread about healthcare).

    Someone asked in the other thread if I was a writer. Here is a link to my book on Amazon.com.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...932434-1448961

    That most recent review is from a friend of mine, and I agree it is over the top, so please don't call me on it. The book is on Amazon UK as well.

  • #2
    Re: Why I am a Republican

    Originally posted by Patrick
    I admit that I am more concerned with the "social" issues of abortion and gay marriage. Let's not get into those. This board has been down that road before.
    Okay, but it has been my experience that when all other arguments by staunch conservatives break down, they refuse to see things through liberal lenses because of the gay/abortion thing. I know people who have been union laborers all their working lives who vote Republican because they can't get past the gay/abortion issue. It's frustrating and sad. But enough on that.

    Originally posted by Patrick
    What I do want to get into is judge appointments. From my view, the liberal judges are doing a lot of harm to this country...

    Arnold had it right when one of the first things he did when elected was work to reform the California work comp system...
    I admit I'm not fully knowledgeable about the California Worker's Comp problem, though I have read about it and Washington State has similar abuses. I am all for the idea of ensuring Worker's Comp claims are legit and I fully agree the system needs work. Unfortunately, it seems that when dealing with fundamentalist conservatives, there is no way to do something about Worker's Comp fraud without punishing everyone involved (more on this in a moment).

    Face it, the American worker is a relatively powerless entity. Unless one is a member of a strong union, being a laborer is about the lowest caste there is, just ask any Wal*Mart employee. Liberal judges are going to vote in the interest of the worker, not the corporation.

    This could degrade into a "this judge voted for this - yeah, but this judge voted for that" debate very quickly, but basically a liberal judge is going to vote in a way that doesn't set a dangerous precedent against the less-fortunate in this country. It's better, in the liberal mind, to give money where it is not needed than to end up with a situation where those who need the money never see it.

    You make it sound as if Democratic judges want to just give money to whomever asks for it. In reality, a liberal solution would be to regulate things better, whereas a conservative solution seems to be to punish everyone across the board. Using Arnold as an example:

    "Existing California law provides that when payment has been unreasonably delayed or refused to a worker, the full amount of the order, decision, or award shall be increased by ten percent plus attorney’s fees. But the crafty Governor’s bill would repeal that section and instead would encourage unreasonable delays and refusals of compensation by allowing miniscule penalties (reducing the maximum penalty for unreasonably delaying or refusing payment to a worker to any percentage point or fraction thereof, up to a maximum of 15% or to a mere $500 penalty, whichever is greater with no attorney fees provided.)"

    SOURCE: http://www.yuricareport.com

    Emphasis was mine. Note that this particular change suggested by Arnold's bill does nothing to stop the misuse of Worker's Comp. Rather, it only screws perfectly legitimite claimholders. The obvious rhetorical question, then, is who does this change benefit?

    From my point of view, in almost every instance, conservatives are more concerned with the money than the people, and the area of Worker's Comp is no exception. It's not that conservatives want to keep the money from being misappropriated; they simply want to make sure it's misappropriated in the right direction.

    Arnold's plan "proposes to deny the injured worker due process and a hearing under oath within thirty days to resolve medical disputes." Instead, Arnie would like to create an Independent Medical Review using "anonymous providers dependent on carriers and employers for their fees and who would never see or examine the injured worker." Does that make sense to you? How is that stopping Worker's Comp fraud? I can definitely see how it's cutting costs, though! 8O Due process gets expensive!

    And tell me this: why would Arnold want to deny a worker the right to pick his/her own doctor? Why should the company get to say where they go for treatment? Are crooked doctors that ubiquitous? I don't think they are, but evidently Arnold does because he's all for taking away a person's right to choose their physician. Not sure how that's solving the fraud problem.

    Finally, Arnold argues that corporations and insurance companies are losing their shirts, but to anyone who pays attention, this is a blantant lie. The largest Worker's Comp insurer, Zenith, has seen nothing but obscene profits. They reported a 200% increase in profits in the third quarter of of 2003. First quarter of 2004 saw even larger growth. Check it!

    American Financial Group, another large Worker's Comp insurer, saw a whopping 600% increase in profits in 2003. Interesting.

    *deep breath* So, I respectfully submit that in attempting to change law so that the worker is forever slave to the corporation, it is the conservative judges who are damaging this country. America isn't supposed to be about freedom for the rich, it's supposed to be about freedom for everyone. Liberals vote for the people; Conservatives vote for the corporations. It's really that simple.
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow. I actually wasn't expecting such a detailed response. Work Comp (hereafter WC) is not a very interesting topic.

      I will attempt to address all your points. I hope I don't miss anything. If I do, I'm sure that you'll tell me.

      OK. The penalty situation. California is actually obscene with the penalty situation. If an employer or insurer is questioning some medical treatment, they can get hit with a penalty into the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. I've seen it. In a WC case, there is always disputes, especially if it is a large case. You need to keep in mind that WC is not health insurance. Only conditions that are related to the claim should be paid. Unfortunately people try to put every other problem into it. I've seen it.

      I fully agree that there should be penalties. Here in IL there are virtually no penalties. That ain't right. I can tell you that insurance companies are very concerned anytime there is a penalty. It impacts the bottom line because many penalties do not go back to the employer. And enough penalties can impact an insurance company's ability to write insurance in a state.

      Zenith might be one of the largest writers in CA, but they are not in the country. I've never heard of the other company you mentioned. What I can tell you is that insurance companies have raised deductibles in CA to manage the risk, and companies have had to move out of CA due to the rates.

      In many states workers are required to go to company selected drs. There are pros and cons on both sides. I personally agree with you on that point. But many people in the industry see it as a way to limit costs (which are driven by the liberal judges).

      You see it as the unsympathetic conservatives trying to ruin it for the little guy. I see it that the liberals are the ones who have ruined it. Keep in mind that all the states that I have seen have shown a steady stream to more liberal rulings. Eventually changes have to be made to stop the tide.
      It is the dumb judges and the fraudulent claimant's that ruin it for the legitimate ones.

      I could give you example after example. But I will leave you with one. Guy in California shots a gun at a coworker. Coworker chases him down and beats the crap out of him. Guy files a claim and judge gives him benefits. Make sense?

      As I said in my first post, the WC judges that I have seen rarely look at evidence, case law or statutes and just rule for the worker.

      On the "social" issues, I stand by my positions. You disagree (apparently) and I understand. They are tough issues.

      Comment


      • #4
        Just to clarify - are we talking about compensation here in cases where injury has been caused by the employer's negligence?

        I find it hard to imagine that the system is weighted in favour of workers. Wow! :D
        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mikey_C
          Just to clarify - are we talking about compensation here in cases where injury has been caused by the employer's negligence?
          Yup. But it isn't to be confused with the tort system. Worker's Comp was created (around the 20s, I think) because corporations were using the tort system to beat legit worker-injury claims.
          "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
          --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

          Comment


          • #6
            Worker's Comp was created (around the 20s, I think) because corporations were using the tort system to beat legit worker-injury claims.

            I'm sorry, but I think that this implies an inherent bias. WC was created out of a number of issues. Initially, a worker had to file a tort claim, and then prove negligence. There was no such thing as a "legit" worker claim prior to WC. If someone blew out their back lifting a heavy box, well, they were out of luck if there was no employer negligence.

            So what happend was that WC was created to eleviate that problem. Employers gave workers far more benefits by eliminating the tort aspects of claims. Employees gave up the right to suit due to negligence. (Which, by the way is back to a degree in CA.)

            So, bottom line, WC is a no-fault benefit to the employees. As it is a liberal law (or, more technically, laws), it is assumed that it will be interpreted liberal by the various WC courts. That is understood. Where the problems arise is when the ALJs do not apply the laws correctly.

            Here is another CA example. We had an ALJ on a case with a ex-athlete. (I can't be more specific as I have given my email address in the past.) The ALJ knew this man and asked for his autograph. When our attorney complained and asked him to remove himself from the case, the ALJ refused.

            One last thing I would like to point out. In California, if you have carpal tunnel surgery, you can pretty much expect that that person is going to be off work for a long time, have psychiatric counseling and vocation rehabilitation. In the same case in Iowa, the person will have surgery, be back to work in a couple months and get no settlement. Why the difference?

            As an aside, the Mayo Clinic (not a conservative institution by any stretch) recently published a report showing that there is absolutely no correlation between work duties and the onset of CTS, yet it is almost unilaterally recognized in the U.S. as a repetitive trauma claim in WC cases.

            Comment


            • #7
              ...sorry. Had to attend a meeting. Okay, quickly...

              Originally posted by Patrick
              I will attempt to address all your points. I hope I don't miss anything. If I do, I'm sure that you'll tell me.
              Well, you did miss the thing about Arnie and due process. It's important because it points to a pretty obvious conflict of interest.

              Originally posted by Patrick
              California is actually obscene with the penalty situation. If an employer or insurer is questioning some medical treatment, they can get hit with a penalty into the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. I've seen it. In a WC case, there is always disputes, especially if it is a large case.
              Perhaps, but that kind of penalty is nowhere near as common as you would have people believe. The laws regarding unreasonably delayed payments were put there for a reason. It's not like every company that requests a second opinion regarding a slipped disc diagnosis is slapped with a fine. The employee with the fractured hand whose antibiotics were delayed (a serious concern) because of corporate red-tape -- that's who the penalty was put in place to protect.

              Originally posted by Patrick
              Unfortunately people try to put every other problem into it. I've seen it.
              Okay. But is the problem so completely common that you would endure all the other changes made by conservatives like Arnie which have nothing at all to do with WC fraud? Is it really such a ubiquitous offense that you believe more is needed than intelligent, documented regulation? Why do you agree with those who would support the huge corporation instead of the tiny worker? I don't get it.

              Originally posted by Patrick
              What I can tell you is that insurance companies have raised deductibles in CA to manage the risk...
              This is where you are misguided, I think. Insurance companies raise deductibles to lower overhead and make a larger profit. The 'greater risk' crap is a scape-goat fed to you so you don't see the real reason for the price-gouging. Go ahead, show me an insurance company that actually lost money last year. In fact, show me one that didn't make an obscene profit.

              Originally posted by Patrick
              You see it as the unsympathetic conservatives trying to ruin it for the little guy. I see it that the liberals are the ones who have ruined it.
              Okay. How?

              Originally posted by Patrick
              Keep in mind that all the states that I have seen have shown a steady stream to more liberal rulings. Eventually changes have to be made to stop the tide.
              Change is good. Handing workers' freedoms over to the corporations that employ them is bad. If doing that is your solution, I'll stick with the status quo 'til we think of something intelligent and fair.

              Originally posted by Patrick
              It is the dumb judges... that ruin it for the legitimate ones.
              Please supply some liberal judicial rulings that you find have ruined the system, would you, so we can talk about specifics. Just telling me the judges are 'dumb' is hard to work with.

              Originally posted by Patrick
              I could give you example after example. But I will leave you with one. Guy in California shots a gun at a coworker. Coworker chases him down and beats the crap out of him. Guy files a claim and judge gives him benefits. Make sense?
              Did this really happen or is it hypothetical? If it really happened, can I get a link? I need to read about that one!

              Originally posted by Patrick
              As I said in my first post, the WC judges that I have seen rarely look at evidence, case law or statutes and just rule for the worker.
              That's a bold statement. Any support for it out there or is it just your personal experience?
              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                Originally posted by Mikey_C
                Just to clarify - are we talking about compensation here in cases where injury has been caused by the employer's negligence?
                Yup. But it isn't to be confused with the tort system. Worker's Comp was created (around the 20s, I think) because corporations were using the tort system to beat legit worker-injury claims.
                Sounds interesting. We don't have that. Small wonder Arnie's trying to trash it. I shall look into it when I have a bit more time. Just to comment that the 'employment contract' is a legal fiction. As soon as you've accepted that job you're in a wildly unequal position. Which is why we need trade unions and (hopefully) legislation to help even things up. Of course, it doesn't help if the system gets abused, 'cos it gives the employers an excuse to attack it. Which is why I never want to hear about my colleagues taking 'sickies'...
                \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                Comment


                • #9
                  Unfortunately I can't post links. What I can tell you is that I have been doing this for 13 years. I have seen tens of thousands of claims. The shooting example is real. I saw that claim. And I have seen case after case we evidence was ignored by judges and they did not follow the statutes. I can understand if you don't want to take my word for it. If so, we should end the discussion.

                  I think that you are overstating the "due process" issue. Nobody is proposing to get rid of that. As I said, penalties are important in this business, but there are different levels.

                  In IL, the first level of appeal from the ALJ is to the Industrial Commission which is a three person board. There is supposed to be an employer representative, employee rep and an unbiased rep. Well, Blagovich has appointed panels where there are 2-3 employee reps.

                  It seems that the difference is that some see this as good: the little guy getting money from the big evil corporations. What fraud does is raise rates for everyone and inflate prices.

                  My point on deductible is that the insurance companies are passing the risk on to the employers. I see many deductibles that are $250,000 or more per occurrence. So, the employer pays all the money per claim to that amount.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Patrick
                    I think that you are overstating the "due process" issue. Nobody is proposing to get rid of that.
                    Actually, Gov. Arnie (whom you said 'had it right') does want to get rid of due process in the area of resolving medical disputes. Have you read the bill? I quote:

                    "Existing law establishes procedures with respect to disputes between employers and employees regarding the compensability of the injury and the extent of and scope of medical treatment for that injury.

                    "This bill would establish... the Independent Medical Review System to resolve disputes involving any disputed health care service. The bill would authorize the Department of Industrial Relations to contract with one or more independent medical review organizations to conduct reviews for this purpose."


                    So much for due process, eh?

                    Originally posted by Patrick
                    In IL, the first level of appeal from the ALJ is to the Industrial Commission which is a three person board. There is supposed to be an employer representative, employee rep and an unbiased rep. Well, Blagovich has appointed panels where there are 2-3 employee reps.
                    I suppose whether or not James F. DeMunno is an employee-friendly commissioner running as an independent is arguable. But honestly looking at the big picture, is the WC situation in Illinois the standard or the exception in America?

                    Originally posted by Patrick
                    What fraud does is raise rates for everyone and inflate prices.
                    That may be true, but you've done nothing to show how the conservative changes I listed are in any way working towards curbing fraud. The changes ensure money is re-appropriated, but do absolutely nothing to solve the actual problem you're bothered by. I'd think if fraud was your major concern, you would look for your representatives to make changes that actually affected fraud: you know, put regulations in place to stop fraudulent claims and go after unethical doctors. Instead, you would vote for changes that serve only to help insurance companies. And we all know insurance companies are never going to turn around and lower premiums and deductibles for any reason, no matter how good things get for them.

                    Originally posted by Patrick
                    My point on deductible is that the insurance companies are passing the risk on to the employers. I see many deductibles that are $250,000 or more per occurrence. So, the employer pays all the money per claim to that amount.
                    And my point was that the reason they do it isn't because of rampant fraud. Do you honestly believe they lose $250,000 in each fraudulent case? Come on!

                    Originally posted by Patrick
                    Unfortunately I can't post links. What I can tell you is that I have been doing this for 13 years. I have seen tens of thousands of claims. The shooting example is real. I saw that claim. And I have seen case after case we evidence was ignored by judges and they did not follow the statutes. I can understand if you don't want to take my word for it. If so, we should end the discussion.
                    Perhaps we will. I understand your experiences make your opinions just as I am sure you understand I can't alter my beliefs based on hearsay. I have to see the facts for myself.

                    We agree to disagree, then.
                    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How could anyone be so cynical as to think that?
                      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't think that the instances of fraud are exaggerated. I think it is more rampant than people know. There have been times when we've pretty much caught people flat out with fraud and not able to get it prosecuted.

                        Regarding "due process", you need to keep in mind that WC is not in the court systems like a criminal or tort case. Other states have independent drs to review disputes. But there are always ways to appeal it beyond that level.

                        I know that I haven't given too many facts here. I have seen so many cases that I can't keep them all straight. So, it might be best to drop this discussion.

                        Let me leave it with the fact that I have seen plenty of people legitimately hurt who have rehabed and went back to work. That is what is best for everybody, including the injured workers. I went to a seminar once about chronic pain. The chance of getting someone back to work after being off 6 months is extremely difficult. But that is what is best for the person. Not sitting at home. I saw a guy once who had a foot injury with many problems. He eventaully told the drs to cut it off so that he could get back to work. What happened? They cut it off and he went back to work. Nobody has a problem paying that guy his benefits. It is, what we call, the malingerers that make the problem.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I fail to see why it's so important to choose a party. I look at everything on a case by case basis. Can you really say that you agree with everything that Republicans do? Why not just vote Republican when you agree specifically with that politician? I've voted both Democrat and Republican depending on the circumstances. I really would like someone to explain why they feel it's so important to choose a party and stick with it even though you may disagree with some of the issues and politicians of that party.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Danisty
                            I really would like someone to explain why they feel it's so important to choose a party and stick with it even though you may disagree with some of the issues and politicians of that party.
                            For my own part, I've found that almost without exception, I'm not going to like the policies of Republicans (especially this scary 'Neo-Con' licentiousness we're mixed up in). The Right almost invariably works for the rich guy (sorry to state the obvious) and I simply can't deal with that.

                            As far as disagreeing with what politicians in my own party are doing, well, that's going to happen no matter what side of the fence you're on, isn't it? Politicians suck. In the end, for me, it comes down to which politician is going to do more to champion those who haven't the resources or funding to effectively champion themselves; and as I said, in almost every case, that isn't going to be the Republican.

                            It's not black-and-white, though. Had the Republican Party been smart in the 2000 election and nominated McCain instead of Dubya, I might have voted Republican that year. Hard to say for sure, but it's possible.
                            "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                            --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As far as disagreeing with what politicians in my own party are doing, well, that's going to happen no matter what side of the fence you're on, isn't it?
                              Definitely...that's why I don't pick a side at all. I'm just wondering what makes people choose a side when choosing isn't necessary.

                              As far as Republicans and Democrats go. I generally agree more with Democrats, but I agree with Republicans on some issues. I still don't feel right calling myself a Democrat because there are things about the Democrats that truly piss me off. I guess it just seems obvious to me that choosing a side doesn't really make sense when you can choose how you feel about individual issues and such instead.

                              Comment

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