The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 3, 2013

Workers’ comp reform is a step in the right direction

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — On Tuesday, the state Senate approved a GOP-backed plan to reform Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system, trimming at least $100 million from injured employee benefits annually.

Oklahoma and Tennessee were the only two states left in the nation currently employing a judicial process for the resolution of workers’ comp claims, according to The Norman Transcript.

The plan converts our judicial workers’ comp system to an administrative system, bringing it in line with almost every other state, The Associated Press reports. It also allows businesses to opt out of the system within certain guidelines.

Senate Republicans circled reform as a top priority this session, and now we have it.

While critics claimed the switch will be a “Trojan Horse” that won’t translate to savings, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman called the measure’s passage historic.

“By finally putting the brakes on the runaway costs of Oklahoma’s comp system, our state is sending a clear and unmistakable signal to job creators,” Bingman reportedly said.

We hope he’s right. Our state needed to do better on the workers’ comp issue. This is a nice step in that direction.

Not everyone will be satisfied. As always, the devil will be in the details. Ultimately, the overhaul’s success will depend on implementation.