2016 was a hectic year here at the Cluttered Desk. That is due in part to the fact I wasn't behind it much of the time these past 12 months. Travel demands this last year exceeded all before it, and I spent a fairly significant amount of time away from the office. This makes foretelling the events of 2017 difficult; mostly because I am still trying to accomplish the tasks I was supposed to finish way back in 2015.
Now that I think about it, predicting the past would be much easier.
At any rate, I wanted to lay out for you EXACTLY what will be occurring as the year 2017 unfolds. I wanted to do that, but have absolutely no clue as to what the future will exactly be. Instead I will make these Top Ten Predictions, and hope for the best.
President Donald Trump will appoint a Federal Commission on Workers' Compensation
President Trump will appoint a Federal Commission to identify and recommend improvements for the workers' compensation system. The 142 member group, comprised mainly of fellow students from Ivanka's Hot Yoga class, will toil for 10 months trying to identify the most pressing issues for the industry. They will ultimately be overwhelmed by the systems current complexities, causing complete work stoppages for the panel. Originally intended as a key part of the “Drain the Swamp” campaign, workers' comp will ironically instead “swamp the drain”, causing chaos and confusion throughout the government. The commission's final report will be issued via Twitter, with 7 characters left to spare.
A Federal Emergency Guest Worker Program will be established
Construction of the long awaited “Great Wall Numero Dos” will begin along our southern border just four weeks after the new administration is in place. Unfortunately, it will be discovered that in the third week of new management the country deported all the people willing to perform the back-breaking labor in the middle of the desert southwest. An emergency Guest Worker program will be established to allow people to return to the country to build the wall designed to keep them out of the country in the first place.
Florida will successfully reform its workers' compensation system
Florida legislators will pull out all the stops to fix the state's ailing workers' compensation system this year. When the dust of reform settles, the system will be housed in a large canvas tent with three rings, and there will be shiny new cages for all the animals. Caretakers will be allocated glistening new poop-scooping shovels. The job of Chief Deputy Judge of the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims will be retitled “Ringmaster”.
The State of California will Opt Out
Unhappy with the fact that much of the rest of the nation did not agree with them in the recent Presidential election, California will push for and ultimately be successful at separating itself from the United States of America. The effort will get a huge boost when petitions supporting the measure gain 162 million signatures from people living outside the state. The move will not quite be complete, however, as most of the inland and southernmost regions will choose to remain a part of the US. This will leave Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay area to go their own ways. They will have screaming internet and cutting edge technology, but no food, since all of that is grown inland. Additionally, most LA commuters will have to register as foreign workers, since their 3 hour commute means they now reside on foreign soil. The newly formed country of Los Angelinos will have an immediate crisis in workers' comp, since their outrageous injury costs will no longer be subsidized by what used to be the rest of the state. The Chairperson of the Los Angelinos People's Politburo will embark on a reform effort modeled after Florida efforts. Their new system will look quite similar, with the exception that their tent will be resistant to earthquakes, and all bathrooms will be gender neutral.
Healthcare reform will meet medical marijuana
As Republicans dismantle the Affordable Care Act, they will strive to develop an affordable alternative to insure prompt medical care for the dozens of people who actually paid for health insurance they obtained through the government exchanges. It will be discovered that locally sourced, organically grown and affordable medical marijuana will be the singularly stellar solution for the country's medical ills. Free marijuana will be distributed to all persons with any illness or ailment, and will serve as the single authorized medicine listed on the new health systems formulary. No one will really recover from anything, but no one will really care, either. The national anthem will be changed to Bob Dylan's “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (Everybody must get stoned).
Artificial Intelligence will make inroads into workers' compensation
The first rounds of automation will be employed in the workers' comp industry in 2017. Artificial Intelligence will make inroads in claims management, transportation and the medical industry. Surprisingly, Artificial Intelligence will make the most dramatic advances in the online publishing arena; notably many workers' comp blogs will be taken over by these wunderkind computers. This will be ironic, as it will represent the first time actual intelligence of any kind has been applied to that sector.
Workers' Compensation will almost be named Workers' Recovery
Long a personal goal of this prognosticator, the industry will come perilously close to being renamed “Workers' Recovery” this year. The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) will commit to the cause and put the full power of its influence behind it. The effort almost succeeds, but falters slightly in the final moments. The German representatives on the Industry Rebranding Committee insist on a slight change to the word “Recovery”. The final result is the industry will be called “Nur die Klappe Halten und Arbeiten”, which essentially means, “Just Shut Up and Work”. All is not lost, however. The people at WorkersCompensation.com successfully obtain the domain name www.nurdieklappehaltenundarbeiten.com, assuring that these inane predictions can continue for years to come.
Illinois will dramatically simplify and improve its workers' comp program
In a completely unforeseen move, Illinois legislators will totally scrap their currently chaotic workers' compensation system and replace it with a simplified, recovery centric program based on an advocacy based claims model. Injury durations decrease, litigation ceases to exist, and everyone benefits from what is now considered the model workers' compensation program in the nation. On a completely unrelated note, pigs will fly and hell will freeze over.
Amazon will sell workers' compensation insurance
Online retailing behemoth Amazon will start to sell workers' compensation insurance via their Prime “One Click Order” system. Alternately, Amazon Echo owners will be able to order a policy by saying, “Alexa, buy me workers' compensation coverage”. Policy paperwork will be delivered within one hour via drone. The most unique part of Amazon Workers' Comp coverage will be the handling of injured workers. When an injury occurs, employers will simply be able to return the broken worker to Amazon by generating a return authorization and shipping label from within their account area.
Bob Wilson will lose 50 pounds – again
Suffering with chronic knee issues and having been told to lose weight by his Orthopedic Surgeon, Bob Wilson will try in vain to find a new Orthopedic Surgeon, preferably one that is 300 pounds and smokes. Failing in that measure, he will lose 50 pounds. Again. This will bring his total lifetime weight loss to over 1,750 pounds.
And there you have it. We will look forward to returning at years end to see how accurate I was. Until then, have a great 2017!
Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
Bob has a couple unique personality characteristics. He firmly believes that everyone has the right to his (Bob's) opinion, and while he may not always be right, he is never in doubt. Enter at your own risk, and like all of our blog areas, we encourage you to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
We're not responsible for this guy.....
Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.