Illinois Workers' Compensation
11:09 am
Tue April 12, 2011

Business groups open to Quinn's workers' comp fix call

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky added to this report at 5:29 p.m. April 12, 2011.

Gov. Pat Quinn is taking his push for workers' compensation reform to Illinois business leaders.

Participants in Business Lobby Day in Springfield applauded the Democrat when he called for fixing a system critics say costs employers too much and is driving them from the state.

Quinn wants to cut payments to medical providers who treat work-related injuries to save business $500 million a year. He would require more professional standards for arbitrators who decide cases and overhaul the 100-year-old workers' compensation commission.

Another Democrat, Senate President John Cullerton, called it the most important piece of legislation that can be passed this spring to improve the state's business climate.

"We must act immediately to bring that system under control and make it competitive with that of other states," Cullerton said.

The GOP's General Assembly leaders signaled their support, too. A main sticking point holding up a deal pits businesses against unions and trial lawyers.

But Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Doug Whitley said Tuesday that business leaders want a requirement that workers show their current employment caused their injury. He says it's too easy to get payment from current employers for past injuries.