A state lawmaker in Oklahoma, concerned about the costs of the President Obama's health-care reform, has brought forth a bill to curb expenses: Fire cigarette smokers.
The bill is sponsored by state Sen. David Hold, a Republican. The bill is a counter to state law that prohibits employers from discriminating against smokers. The legislation, if approved, would give employers the right to lay off workers for the sole reason of smoking.
A big reason for his concern, Mr. Hold said, was the projected rise in health-care costs because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"There are the kinds of protections you'd think we have for race and gender, not smokers," Mr. Hold told KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. "Forcing employers to compensate or provide benefits to smokers at the exact same rates as they do their nonsmoking employees ... [is] just not fair to employers."
Oklahoma is a right-to-work state, and as such, employers are already free to dismiss employees for most reasons that don't violate federal law.
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Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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