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Legislators Aim at Workers’ Compensation Reform to Boost Employment

Unemployment rates have hit record highs across the nation during the current economic recession, and state legislators have been focusing a significant amount of energy on ways to create more jobs and return the unemployment rates to the low numbers they were in the past couple decades.

Ohio legislatures have begun to focus on workers’ compensation reform to attack their record high unemployment percentage, a percentage that remains one of the highest in the country. In October, the unemployment rate in Ohio was at 9.9 percent.

Governor-elect John Kasich has announced his selection of state Senator Steve Buehrer as the new head of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Buehrer was tasked with creating a plan to reform the workers’ compensation program in Ohio.

Some advocates for workers’ compensation reform have suggested privatization. They cite other examples such as West Virginia as success stories. The Governor-elect stated that the state-run system was a “mess of red tape and anti-business process.” Kasich has been quoted as saying that “a recurring theme in [his] conversations with small and large businesses over the past several years has been, ‘fix workers comp.” He hopes that reform will make Ohio more “attractive to business and industry,” leading to more business and more jobs.

It is not clear as of yet what reform will be done or what effect that reform will have on how injured employees will apply for and receive necessary workers’ compensation benefits. What is clear, is that it has become a focus for Ohio state legislation.

Source: Salem News “Reforming Ohio workers’ comp will boost employment” 12/1/10

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