The MSP, the Supremacy Clause, and Georgia WC Reform Capping Medical Benefits
WorkCompCentral reported this morning that Georgia self-insureds are pushing to cap medical benefits at 400 weeks, matching the current indemnity benefit limit. The executive director of the Georgia Self-Insurers Association is quoted as saying “[c]apping medical benefits should give employers better leverage in settlements and should help with the thorny issue of Medicare set-asides” (emphasis added). Wonder in what tone you have to make that statement so that it does not sound like an intentional attempt to shift the burden of treating workers’ compensation injuries to Medicare? I am all for limiting the federal government’s reach when it determines how much is necessary to protect Medicare’s fictitious and theoretical interests; however, unilaterally cutting medical benefits to the detriment of those that may actually have lifetime medical needs short of being labeled “catastrophic” hardly seems like the appropriate response to dealing with MSAs. Yes, MSAs are a pain to deal with, but this director’s perceptions are incorrect. His perceived problems lie in the voluntary WCMSA review program, not with the MSP exemption itself. And, at the end of the day, a state cannot pass legislation for the sole purpose of circumventing federal requirements. It would be interesting to see if instituting a benefit cap would even accomplished the intended goal. Do they really think CMS will go away that easily???