NPR reports that the U.S. Department of Labor is looking critically at
a practice by thousands of employers in Texas and Oklahoma to opt out of conventional state workers' compensation in favor of benefits plans that provide lower and fewer payments, make it more difficult to qualify for benefits, control access to doctors and limit independent appeals of benefits decisions.
"What opt-out programs really are all about is enabling employers to reduce benefits," [Labor Secretary Tom] Perez says. Opt-out programs "create really a pathway to poverty for people who get injured on the job."
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