Lt. Governor’s 2013 Policy and Issues Report
The following ideas and issues are derived from town hall forums and personal meetings I conducted with small business owners from all across Oklahoma. I will continue to work with policymakers to address these issues.
Over the years, the state legislature has approved numerous workers’ compensation reform measures. However, when Oklahoma businesses compare their cost of doing business with the cost of business in other states, they learn that the cost of workers’ compensation in Oklahoma, per worker, is higher. Business owners across the state have mentioned numerous times, that they are in need of real reform—reform that is comprehensive, meaningful, effective and lasting. Whether the reform creates an administrative system, more options for businesses or cracks down on fraud, business owners want and need to see their costs go down. How does an employer define workers’ compensation reform? They define it by significant cost savings. Time and time again business owners across the state, say the system is in desperate need of repair.
“In the process from start to finish, the system is broken. Oklahoma needs a total overhaul of the workers’ compensation system. Applying new paint over old rust, will no longer work.”
–Clif Cypert, Cimarron Trailers, Inc.
My policy recommendations in the area of workers’ compensation reform include calling on the legislature to either create an administrative system that eliminates the current adversarial system, or provide additional coverage options for businesses with a continued policy commitment to investigate and combat fraud. Done efficiently, these suggestions would lead to significant cost savings for businesses.
In an administrative system, Oklahoma would eliminate an adversarial system that immediately poses an employee against an employer. An administrative system provides a climate where workers will get better care, receive benefits quicker for legitimate claims, and employers will see their employees back to work faster. Oklahoma is one of only two states that still retain the adversarial system.