Workers’ comp budget could affect public health
Posted June 27, 2019 in Press Releases
Policymakers must weigh health impacts of proposed legislation
The workers’ compensation budget passed by the Ohio House of Representatives includes policy changes that could impact public health, according to an analysis released today by Policy Matters Ohio.
Provisions in the budget would increase coverage for first-responders and discourage employers from misclassifying employees as independent contractors. These policies will make it more likely that workers seek treatment for workplace injuries, improving health. They also can reduce rates of some of Ohio’s leading causes of death, including heart disease, in part by reducing toxic stress that frequently results from medical costs and lost wages.
The budget also includes a provision that would deter undocumented workers from filing workers’ compensation claims, pushing them further to the fringes of the labor force, limiting their access to health care and threatening their overall health.
The report is the first in a series of health notes, produced in collaboration with the Health Impact Project, a national effort to place public health front and center in the policymaking process.
“Policy decisions made outside of public health and health care sectors—for instance in the workers’ compensation budget—can have major effects on people’s health,” said report author Amanda Woodrum. “Legislators need to consider the health impacts their decisions will have on the people they serve. The health note framework provides the in-depth research necessary to inform those decisions.”