Claremore Daily Progress

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May 1, 2013

Senate sends workers comp bill to Fallin

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Echoing their counterparts in the House, several Senate Democrats condemned the bill. They agreed the system needed to be changed but accused Republicans of saving money by cutting injured worker benefits while doing little to address medical costs.
“We also know that 45 percent roughly of the costs of the system is due to medical expenses,” said Minority Leader Sen. Sean Burrage of Claremore. “So we have a bill here today that has $263 million in savings over a number of years ... and we’ve saved every penny of that by taking away benefits from the injured workers. Every penny of it.”
Republicans dismissed concerns over worker payments, saying everybody would benefit from the new system’s streamlined structure and lowered costs.
“It’s a win-win for employer and employee in every circumstance, especially in Arkansas when I went to visit with them,” said Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, referring to Oklahoma’s neighbor that has a similar workers’ compensation system. “It removes the incentive to get injured to get a raise.”

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