Senator Mike Morgan
President Pro Tempore
Senate District 21
Payne, Logan and Lincoln Counties
For Immediate Release: May 26,
President Pro Tem Mike Morgan
Senate Leader Insists Reform Measure Maintain Physician Choice
Rights for Injured Workers
Special Session Could Be Needed on Workers Compensation
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike
Morgan declared Thursday that Senate Democrats are unwilling
to deny injured workers the right to choose their own physician.
Morgan said he is still hopeful that Republicans will agree to
the latest Democratic proposal that protects physician choice and
would save Oklahoma businesses $100 million.
“We cannot and will not agree to any legislation that takes
away the right of someone injured on the job to choose the doctor
that treats them. I do remain hopeful that we will be able to reach
agreement before adjournment tomorrow afternoon,” said Morgan,
If acceptable legislation can’t be agreed upon then the
Senate leader said he will ask Governor Brad Henry to call for a
Special Session of the Oklahoma Legislature to consider the issue
of Workers’ Compensation Reform.
“I believe it is critical that we address workers compensation
reform this year and not leave it on the table for those who want
to use if for political purposes next session during an election
year,” Morgan said.
The Senate Leader said he and other Democrats have made no secret
about their opposition to language that would take away the rights
of injured workers to choose their own doctor.
“Physician choice has been at the heart of the healthcare
debate in this country for the past decade. Members of the general
public don’t like their HMO telling them which doctor they
can and can’t see. It’s no different when a worker is
hurt on the job and their employer chooses the doctor who will assess
their injury and treat them,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the on again, off again negotiations on workers’
compensation are apparently continuing but that it’s been
very difficult to keep up with who is actually at the negotiating
“You’ve heard that old adage about not being able
to recognize the players without a program? That’s what it’s
been like. This person won’t negotiate with that person and
that person won’t negotiate with this person. What we need
to do is focus on this issue with all of the players at the table.
We can do that in a special session,” Morgan said.
Morgan suggested that Governor Henry work with House and Senate
leaders to choose a mutually agreed upon date for the session.
“It’s time for the political gamesmanship to end.
It’s time to stop the posturing over who’s going to
get the credit for workers’ compensation reform and actually
enact some reforms that will protect the rights of injured workers
and reduce the costs to businesses,” Morgan said.
The Senate leader said he believes the atmosphere of a special
session on workers’ compensation reform will lend itself to
an open and honest evaluation of the issue – including physician
choice and the relative healthcare and legal costs of the state’s
“If we can focus the attention and energies of 149 members
of the Legislature on a single issue, we can find a solution and
resolve this issue for the foreseeable future,” Morgan said.
For more information contact:
Senate President Pro Tem's Office- (405) 521-5605