An intriguing bill is currently before the California State Senate awaiting action. The bill, which takes aim at California workers’ comp. rates was authored by Reason friend Senator Chuck Poochigian. In spite of the positive effects of the reform package pressed forward this spring by Governor Schwarzenegger and Sen. Poochigian, the state still has the highest rates in the nation for this must-have insurance. Sen. Poochigian’s bill would make it easire to create and enter into self-insured workers compensation pools. Under this model, businesses in similar industries could collectively pool their risks and share the costs. Some proponents estimate it could knock 20% off California’s sky-high rates for firms that pursue it. This move would put California in line with the national trend and the shift toward market-created coverage options. In New York, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, self-insurance programs serve 25 percent to 30 percent of the workers’ compensation market. While the workers’ comp attorney’s oppose the measure, it is widely supported by the folks actually paying the rates and looking for a chance to lower their costs. Seems like a “no-brainer.” Read Senator Poochigian’s release here.
George Passantino is a senior fellow at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.