Executive Order Jeopardizes Work Comp System, Says Mich. Retailers Assoc.

September 23, 2003

The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) today urged state lawmakers to reject an Executive Order reorganizing departments because it jeopardizes the workers’ compensation system.

In testimony presented to the House Commerce Committee, MRA President and Chief Operating Officer James P. Hallan said: “Today, Michigan’s workers’ compensation system is fairly and evenly administered. Much of the partisanship that existed in the ’70s and ’80s has been eliminated. We now have a model system that is efficient and provides a fair venue for both claimants and insureds. We also have a workers’ compensation model that has been good for economic development.

“It is our firm belief that the portion of the Executive Order that eliminates the Workers’ Compensation Appellate Commission tampers with that fragile balance between claimants and insureds. It is also a structural change that could hurt the climate for economic development in this state.”

Since 1981 MRA has operated a successful group self-insured workers’ compensation fund known as Retailers Fund. The fund has made it possible for retailers to save millions of dollars on their insurance costs, said Hallan, who also serves as fund administrator.

“We believe that a system that eliminates a permanent appeal board and replaces it with a ‘floating’ magistrate panel is simply not good public policy,” said Hallan. “The position of Michigan Retailers Association is straightforward: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ If the budget demands that dollars be saved, a more prudent approach would be to reduce the size of the commission — not eliminate it.”

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