Political incentives naturally drove
Nevada workers’ comp into the ditch

Lawmakers saw problems with doctors, high court justices

Nevada’s workers’ comp system in the early 1990s was facing a near-perfect storm of problems.

State bureaucrats and politicians — as reported previously — had for years been ducking the politically sensitive issue of the State Industrial Insurance System’s (SIIS) growing financial shortfall. And they did so until that shortfall was metastasizing and the system was effectively insolvent.

The behavior of elected and appointed officials — regardless of party — casts revealing light on the real-world incentives and disincentives built into the world of workers’ comp: Because that world rests upon state-passed laws, all issues ultimately become political.

What naturally results is an intense lobbying-and-lawmaking field of fire. Upset those who deem themselves stakeholders in Nevada’s industrial-insurance money-dispensing system and — and, as the end of last week’s story demonstrated — one can easily find oneself portrayed as everyone’s problem.

Frequently, therefore, players in the system decide to keep their heads down, rather than acknowledge the systemic problems.

As one legislative advocate said to Nevada Journal, when asked to discuss one area of work comp rarely brought up, “With what you’ve told me, I’m going to, not walk, I’m going to run away from this subject. There’s so much passion on both sides.”

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Nevada’s current work-comp system
a product of earlier near-bankruptcy

Politicized state system kept dispensing generous benefits
while lawmakers, governor, ducked need to face the deficit

In the mid-to-late 1980s, Nevada’s state-run workers’ compensation insurance system was scaring its actuaries.

Their job was to calculate whether the State Industrial Insurance System (SIIS) would have enough money, down the road, to pay the injured-worker liabilities it was taking on.

And more than one of the actuaries were telling SIIS insiders, “Listen: We’re in trouble.”

One part of the problem was that, for multiple years, premium rates (the charges to businesses for their compulsory participation in SIIS) had remained unchanged — even though SIIS was awarding some of the most generous benefits in the Western states.

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Today's workers' comp still bears imprint
of Prussia's fear of democracy, rule of law

Regime's politicized judiciary rewrote liability law to help
feudal autocracy stave off the rise of a liberal middle class

The unique design of the modern workers’ compensation system of accident insurance owes a surprising amount to the anxieties and fears of democratic reforms that beset Prussia’s upper crust throughout much of the 19th Century.

As earlier reported, Prussia’s supreme court took a law intended to protect landowners from railroad engine sparks and turned it into a political instrument of state-socialist paternalism.

What allowed this was the state judiciary’s grossly politicized nature and indifference to widely acknowledged principles — at least in other countries — of the actual rule of law.

This essential corruption within Prussia’s judicial system was an important element in Bismarck’s unique ability to manipulate and dominate William I, king of Prussia and, later, German emperor.

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How a Prussian Junker's power obsessions
framed modern work-comp systems: Part 2

Fearing higher costs and a litigation explosion, industry proposed cost-sharing
for accident insurance — but still got higher costs and a litigation explosion

How a Prussian Junker's power obsessions
framed modern work comp systems: Part 1

German statist ideologies, Bismarck’s personal hostility
to laissez-faire liberal ideas of free development, played big role

That workers’ compensation makes
people crazy is no mere coincidence

State’s so-called ‘grand bargain’ frustrates employees, employers, taxpayers

Is Nevada work comp legit?

Truncated health-provider networks increase insurers’ control over doctors

Supreme Court case bears
on bill before Legislature

Big work-comp administrator firm committed fraud, say briefs before court

PERS releases Social Security numbers
of over 100 retired and current judges

In apparent attempt to avoid transparency, Nevada’s retirement system causes huge security breach

Expert critics of Common Core to face
NDE officials in unique public events

Forums designed to give lawmakers, parents, teachers
the chance to learn and ask questions

Federal education officials: Nevada can’t charge dad to look at children’s records

Dozens of mistakes identified in now-viewable records

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