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Posts Tagged ‘Workmens’ Comp’

Bits and Pieces: ALEC at Work in the Oklahoma Legislature

Mon ,02/06/2014

In a Readers Forum article in the Tulsa World, “Responsible, conservative reforms working”, Brian Bingman, president pro tem of the Oklahoma Senate, states how proud he is of what the legislature has been able to accomplish. Mr. Bingman is rather quick to pat himself and the legislature on the back, as the reforms he cites were more to the benefit of corporations than of the average citizen. The tax reform and tax cut leaves the state badly underfunded. The balanced budget, achieved by cutting needed services, does not meet the needs of the state. The Capitol building repair was funded by bonds, rather than taxes, which has further indebted the state in the future. The education system is badly underfunded and the tax cuts have only made the situation worse in the future.

The workers compensation reform limits an injured workers right to full compensation for his injuries. Tort reform makes it harder for the average citizen to seek redress in court and limits the liability of corporations. The reform to the state’s public employee pension system, by privatizing the future pension system, destabilizes the existing program, and is a boon to private fund managers. The failure to expand Medicaid will cost the state billions of dollars in Federal funds, that we pay as taxes, and has left 144,000 Oklahomans without adequate healthcare. The hastily passed changes and extensions to corporate oil and gas subsidies, demanded by Oklahoma’s three largest oil and gas companies,  were unnecessary and will make the state’s budget problems worse in future  – and were likely unconstitutional.

Next to the Governor, Mr. Bingman is the highest ranking member of ALEC in our state and his achievements are  high on the list of ALEC’s model legislation. Many of those “accomplishments” benefit  ALEC’s corporate members, but in the end they will hurt Oklahoma and its citizens.  The Governor and 70 of our 149 legislators are members of ALEC, so what chance does an average citizen have?


If you would like to end the influence of ALEC on politics in Oklahoma, please go to http://okcitizensfirst.org/2014/04/24/alec/ and ask your candidates for office to pledge that they will put the needs of Oklahoma citizens first. Let’s vote out anyone who won’t.

Note: The related Credo Petition to Governor Fallin about Medicaid expansion is at:  https://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/governor-fallin-release-the-31-e-mails-about-medicaid-expansion

Will Privatizing CompSource Lower Costs?

Thu ,01/10/2009

The proper role of government in health care has been the source of many recent arguments on health care reform.  A similar argument has been going on at the state level in Oklahoma. According to a recent Tulsa World article1, “Workers comp proposal mulled “ , Oklahoma State Rep. Dan Sullivan wants to privatize CompSource Oklahoma because: “It’s a fundamental issue of what is the proper function of government . Is it to compete with private enterprise? We think not.”   According to Sullivan, the incentive behind the privatization is to lower workers’ compensation insurance rates as rates should fall because of increased competition.

 That rationalization seems weak. It would seem that providing workman’s comp to state workers is a proper function of  the state government.  CompSource Oklahoma  has been doing so for 76 years – apparently successfully. Many private businesses use CompSource. Why would they do so if private insurance companies can provide better service and lower rates?

 According to an expert in comp insurance 2: “ CompSourse  is an insurance carrier of last resort when all other insurance companies turn down a company for coverage.  If they privatize, the competing insurance companies cannot just dump the employers over to Compsource. I think there will be an overall price increase. Instead of having CompSource as a safety net, more companies will be put into the risk pool. The risk pool forces carriers to insure the higher risk employers.  This sounds good, except the downside is the rates are 40% -70% higher than the regular insurance market. “

 There you have it. If CompSource is privatized, it will cost the companies it now insures  and the State of Oklahoma more  to provide workman’s comp. That sounds like a bad idea. 

Privatization for ideological reasons often fails as a practical way to lower costs. Privatizing Social Security increased the cost to the government by 14% and created the infamous “donut hole“ that costs seniors an additional $25 billion annually. After the recent economic downturn, we should all be grateful that the plans to privatize Social Security failed.

Finally, Sullivan doesn’t know who would get the proceeds from the sale of CompSource. He says he plans to file a bill that its assets belong to the state in the hope that it will result in a lawsuit which will let the courts decide the matter. That seems like a stange plan from Sullivan, who promoted Tort Reform to end frivolous lawsuits.

(1)Tulsa World , August 7, 2009

(2) James Moore at J&L Risk Management