The cuts already passed by legislators will save about $5 billion in a $29 billion system. That's not enough, says the newly inaugurated Republican governor. Schwarzenegger wants an additional $11 billion trimmed from the system.
The proposed cuts, said Schwarzenegger, "will let the world know that California is serious about improving its business climate." If state lawmakers don't pass his reform measures, he said he would place the issue on the ballot and let the voters, who overwhelmingly supported him for governor based on his promises to improve California's economy, decide.
Schwarzenegger's proposed reforms include:
- Overhauling the permanent disability portion of the workers' compensation system.
- Defining the "cure and relieve" provision that allows workers to be given any treatment needed to cure and relieve their work-related ailments.
- Limiting the amount that injured workers can win from insurers or employers over disputed medical bills
- Ending a worker's ability to receive multiple disability payments for the same injury.
- Expanding the use of dispute resolution to reduce litigation
- Allowing employers the option of consolidating health insurance and workers' compensation coverage into one program.
- Prohibiting prisoners from obtaining workers' compensation benefits.