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Revised workers' comp bill unveiled by Oklahoma House

BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Published: April 5, 2013

“Because of the cuts to the middle some of the cuts the Senate had made in the original version were not that much of a cost driver,” Osborn said “From what they told us, we should be very close to the same (cost) scoring the Senate bill had.”

Backers said the new proposition would keep true to the fundamental focus of the overhaul — reduced system costs and a system that would get injured employees back to work more quickly.

Cost savings

Mike Seney, a senior policy analyst for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, said cost savings are still anticipated in excess of $200 million under the new version of the bill.

“It does get rid of our court-based system and go through an administrative system, which Oklahoma employers have been working toward and stating that we needed for years now,” Seney said. “It's a good bill.”

Critics, however, maintain the bill — both the initial and the revised versions — protects employers and doctors by dumping long-held rights held by the state's workers.

“This is all about special interests wanting their way,” said Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City.

“What's the difference between a court judge and an administrative judge except in this case the workers will not have an advocate?”