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Lawmakers Weigh Changing Workers Comp Payments To Combat High Costs

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Lawmakers took testimony Tuesday on a senate bill to change workers compensation payments. It's an issue that's come up before.

New Hampshire has high workers comp costs, twice the national average according to the Insurance Department, and making the system less expensive is a priority for lawmakers and the Governor.

More than half the state senate has signed on to a bill that would cap payment for medical services at 150% of what Medicare pays.  Republican Gary Daniels of Milford is the lead author. He says capping reimbursements would free up money for businesses to hire people and increase wages.

Opponents, on the other hand, charge the bill amounts to price fixing, and say cutting payments would drive physicians out of the system. They also point to states like California and Vermont, where rates have gone up despite similar reforms. 

Last year a workers comp commission created by Governor Hassan decided against capping fees for medical services and recommended the issue be studied for another year.

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