OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

February 22, 2012

Joint Committee Finally Releases Report – Big Surprise! They Want Exchange AND Another Trust

OK-SAFE, Inc. – After almost a two month delay, the Joint Legislative Committee on Federal Health Care Reform has finally released it’s final report, 3 weeks after the start of OK legislative session.

The Governor and Leadership had seen the committee report much earlier, and legislation implementing the committee’s findings has already been planned and reserved.

No Big Surprises

The Legislature’s February 22, 2012 press release contained no big surprises, especially for those who have been following this state’s years-long implementation of health care reform, via both the HITECH Act of 2009 and PPACA (“Obama Care”).

There was no real surprise either, when yesterday (2/21/12) it was confirmed that SB 1116, a bill to repeal the title of law that created the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust (OHIET), would not get a hearing in the Senate.

The Senate Leadership, and it’s author Sen. Brian Crain, made sure the bill would not get heard.

February 22, 2012 Press Release Excerpt:

“The committee’s final report (attached) recommends that Oklahoma: Continue to fight the federal health care law in court; better educate the public about ways to improve their health; prepare for a dramatic expansion of Medicaid eligibility due to PPACA; begin developing a market-based state health insurance exchange in order to prevent imposition of a federal exchange in Oklahoma; form a permanent legislative committee to monitor issues related to the federal health care law; and increase medical residency programs in order to address current and future doctor shortages – particularly in rural areas.

What the committee is not mentioning here is the fact the work to align Oklahoma with all the technology provisions of both the HITECH Act of 2009, and the PPACA, has already been started, facilitated by legislation creating electronic health records, and by the creation of a public trust called the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust, or OHIET.  If the state builds an exchange, it may say OKLAHOMA (Insure Oklahoma) on the outside, but the inside functionality, and IT standards, will be all federally compliant and interoperable.

The release continues:

“Regarding health insurance exchanges, the report recommends Oklahoma begin taking steps to implement a state-based, free market health insurance exchange. The recommended exchange is similar to the one in development by the state of Utah since before PPACA’s existence. Utah’s exchange model was recommended to the committee by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. The recommended Oklahoma exchange would be housed in Insure Oklahoma, which would be spun off from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and turned into a public trust.”

Besides pointing out the clear contradiction in the statement “state-based, free market health insurance exchange”, (you can’t have both state involvement AND be free-market), this release just confirms the state of Oklahoma, under Republican leadership, is ready to implement a federally compliant exchange, while giving the appearance of fighting “Obama Care”.

Another Trust?

The OHIET is a public-beneficiary trust that was created by stealth in the last week of May 2010.  It is responsible for the implementation of the technology infrastructure in this state that makes “Obama Care” work, establishing the ‘network of networks’ linking the patient (that’s you), the providers, and the payers.   The OHIET operates with no legislative oversight, and as the State Designated Entity (SDE), they can solicit and receive federal grants, award contracts, issue bonds, and incur debt.

In fact, due to timeline extensions by the HHS they could end up soliciting the very same $54M Early Innovator Grant that Gov. Fallin “rejected” in the spring of 2011.

The OHIET is currently using federal grant money to operate (see the Challenge Grant), and are busy awarding each other contracts for health information exchange.

The OHIET trust model was drafted by the law firm Crowe and Dunlevy.  One assumes that this same firm has had a hand in drafting the proposed insurance exchange trust language, transforming Insure Oklahoma into an insurance exchange.

It is virtually impossible to terminate a trust; there has to be political will in the Legislature anyway to make to make it happen.  The Oklahoma legislature, under Republican Governor Mary Fallin, does not want to stop the implementation of health care reform, aka “Obama Care.”

Instead, the Republican-led OK Legislature wants to keep on doing what they’ve been doing – implementing “Obama Care” while giving the appearance of opposing “Obama Care.”

It’s an election year – time to flip some Houses.

Both Committee Chairs – Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Glen Mulready have indicated they would not have supported SB 1116, saying they prefer a patient “opt-in/out” option.  This, of course, would leave the OHIET, and it’s agenda, intact.

February 22, 2012 Press Release in it’s entirety is available here.

The Final Report of the Joint Committee on Health Care Law is available here.

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February 21, 2012

Crying Wolf the Movie – Exposing the Wolf Reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park

OK-SAFE, Inc. – In 1995 and 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service engaged in a project to “reintroduce” wolves into Yellowstone National Park, and central Idaho.  Some of the agency’s talking points included statements such as, “Wolves play an important role as predator in the ecosystems they inhabit.”

After a decade and half, those predators are doing what predators left unchecked will do – namely, killing and maiming other, more necessary animals, including cattle, deer and elk.  According to one count, the elk herd in northern Montana has been reduced by 70% in the last 16 years.

Crying Wolf is a one-hour independently-filmed documentary detailing what it’s really been like for ranchers, farmers and hunters in the affected areas – mostly Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It’s been costly.

The movie’s subtitle is Exposing the Wolf Reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park.

Experiencing unnatural growth and protected as an endangered species, the wolves,  are frequently seen hunting in packs, and routinely attack cattle, deer and elk.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife says wolves this about wolves,”They feed primarily on large mammals, such as deer and elk, removing sick and injured animals from the populations.”  Apparently most of the elk in Gardiner, Montana were sick or injured ’cause they’re going, going, gone.

“All told, the elk population has declined by 70 percent in the 16 years since wolf reintroduction.” Story here.

Anyone heard an apology from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?

From the Crying Wolf Website:

Crying Wolf is an independently produced documentary film by Jeffrey King, a 20 year old Montana resident. His passions are filmmaking, wildlife, and truth, wherever it may (or may not) be found. He finished his studies last fall, when he completed his B.S.B.A. in Business Management via a distance program through Thomas Edison State College. Be sure to follow the film’s informative Facebook page for the latest wolf news.

Well done, Jeffrey.

February 16, 2012

Martin/Tibbs Block Anti-RFID Bill – Again

OK-SAFE Inc. – Evidence of the powerful RFID lobby in the Oklahoma Legislature, the bill prohibiting RFID tags in the OK drivers license will only be heard in committee if the author of the bill agrees to new language allowing RFID tags in the Oklahoma drivers license.

Rep. Steve Martin, vice-chair of the House Public Safety committee, has offered a proposed committee substitute for HB 1399, by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft.  Martin’s proposed language is a backdoor attempt to allow the state to imbed RFID tags in drivers licenses and state issued-identification cards, while limiting their use.

Currently, the state of Oklahoma does not allow RFID tags in their drivers licenses, despite the federal push to add them. (See prior post on this bill here and information on the REAL ID debacle here.)

If Wesselhoft refuses Martin’s new language, committee Chairman Rep. Sue Tibbs will not allow the bill a hearing.

If the bill’s author agrees to the substitution, and that language passes, the state will have opened the door to having RFID tags in the drivers licenses, the very thing HB 1399 was trying to prohibit in the first place.

Both Tibbs and Martin blocked this bill last session, when the bill was originally introduced.

Such is the power of the chairman’s position – and why a bill like HR 1004 is so necessary.  (HR 1004 is a proposed rule change introduced by Rep. Charles Key at the beginning of the 2011 session that would require a chair to hear a bill if the author asked for it to be heard in committee. House leadership has effectively blocked the passage of this resolution.)

OK-SAFE recommends that Wesselhoft rejects the Martin committee substitute language.

HB 1399 Language, amending Title 47, Section 6-111:

7.  The Department of Public Safety shall be prohibited from embedding, affixing, adhering or assigning any radio frequency identification (RFID) tag to any driver license or identification card.  The Department shall further be prohibited from utilizing any type of RFID ink in any format or configuration onto or into any driver license or identification card.  As used in this paragraph, “radio frequency identification” means a data collection technology system that uses electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit signals that contain unique identification or location information of persons or products.

Martin’s Proposed Committee Substitute:

The Department of Public Safety shall be prohibited from embedding, affixing, adhering or assigning to any driver license or identification card any device, object, or technology with any of the following of the characteristics or capabilities contained herein:

           a. ) The conveyance of information of any kind concerning the owner or subject of the driver license or identification card not presented in the legible text of the driver license or identification card.

           b.)  The capability of the card to be remotely read while being held in a wallet or purse.

Translation:

The proposed language and section a.) does not prohibit a RFID tag in/on the state drivers’ license or identification card.   It allows an RFID tag that contains some information.  In other words, it’s a way to put RFID tags into the state drivers licenses and ID cards, while limiting the information to be the same as what is readable on the card.  If put into place, this language can later be amended to expand the RFID data requirements.

Further, section b.) does literally nothing to protect the RFID tag from being remotely read. Because people have to take their driver’s license out of their wallet or purse so frequently – i.e. writing a check, getting a prescription, getting a credit card, for ID when making a return at a store, to get into some buildings, to buy an airline ticket, to board a plane, etc. – their drivers license is exposed a great deal of the time, leaving plenty of opportunity for it to be read remotely.

OK-SAFE believes this is an attempt at slight of hand and again recommends Wesselhoft rejects the Martin/Tibbs proposals.

 

February 15, 2012

House Committee Passes HB 2266 8-4 – Public Health “Virtual Doctors”

OK-SAFE, Inc. – HB 2266, the Health Care Delivery Act, by Rep. Doug Cox, passed the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 8 Aye to 4 Nay.

An amendment by Rep. Mike Ritze was adopted, excluding certain provisions of existing OK statutes; this amendment left intact the main provisions of the bill, namely that registered nurses in public health settings (government nurses) can treat patients without a doctor’s involvement, utilizing instead “physician-approved protocols” and undefined “medial algorithms.”

HB 2266 Votes:

 YEAS:    8

    Cannaday     Enns              McDaniel, J.      Peters            
    Cox          Holland           Nollan            Roberts, S.       

    NAYS:    4

    Derby       Grau              Ritze             Schwartz

In  essence, patients get cookie-cutter treatment, right or wrong, without the benefit of doctor supervision or interpretation.

Dr. Cox (R-HD5) did not mention, nor did any committee members ask, by which method would the physician-approved protocols and medical algorithms be utilized?  Via a software program? Or are they just printed out on a laminated cheat sheet posted on the wall of the facility?

Claiming no connection to “Obama Care” or knowing anything about  “virtual nurses or virtual doctors,” Cox went on to characterize his bill as just making legal what public health nurses have been doing for fifty years – acting without doctor supervision.

In essence what he’s proposing is to legally lower the standard for public health services in Oklahoma. Could we be getting a glimpse of what government controlled health care will really mean for all of us?

Protocols and Algorithms

According the bill, the public health nurses are to use “physician-approved protocols” and undefined, “medical algorithms.”

The bill says:  “Physician-approved protocols” means a protocol such as standing orders that describe the parameters of specified situations under which a registered nurse may act to deliver public health services for a client who is presenting with symptoms or needs addressed in the protocol.”

Standing orders describe how a nurse may act when certain symptoms are present.

Rep. Randy Grau asked Dr. Cox for the definition of medical algorithms, since this term was not defined in the bill.    Dr. Cox said they were “best practices.” Best practices evolve over time.

Actually, medical algorithms are defined as, “A medical algorithm is any computation, formula, statistical survey, nomogram, or look-up table, useful in healthcare. Medical algorithms include decision tree approaches to healthcare treatment (i.e., if symptoms A, B, and C are evident, then use treatment X) and also less clear-cut tools aimed at reducing or defining uncertainty. be a multitude of things, including computations, formulas, and if/then decision trees, i.e. “If A, B, and C are present, do X.”

Who needs a doctor if all you have to do to properly diagnose patients is an if/then decision tree?  Like we said in our earlier post on this bill – this is a move toward virtual doctors.

Instead of doing what a real conservative would do – limit the size and scope of the costly public health system to the point where they could actually operate with both doctors and nurses, and access to a pharmacist – this big-government Republican wants to just allow nurses to act as doctors and thinks access to magical protocols and algorithms can replace real doctors.

 

Government nurse: “Stand still. The medical algorithm indicates this is the right dose for a carbon-based unit of your height and weight.”

February 10, 2012

HB 2266 by Cox: The Virtual Doctor – Nurses to use Software Program to Treat Patients

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Who needs doctors? If one OK legislator gets his way, nurses will soon be treating patients using a virtual doctor software program and will have no need to consult a physician first.

HB 2266 by Rep. Doug Cox (R-HD 5), reads in part:

2.  “Physician-approved protocol” means a protocol such as standing orders that describe the parameters of specified situations under which a registered nurse may act to deliver public health services for a client who is presenting with symptoms or needs addressed in the protocol.

HB 2266 is going to be heard in the Public Health meeting on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM in Room 412- C.

The bill goes on to read:

A.  Registered nurses are authorized to use physician-approved protocols to provide public health services when performing duties as an employee or as a contractor, as defined in Section 803 of Title 18 of the Oklahoma Statutes, on behalf of the city-county health departments, county health departments, and the State Department of Health.

And:

F.  Medical algorithms may be utilized or referenced in the physician-approved protocols to assist in providing the public health services.

Drawing from a  knowledge database and using if-then decision trees, medical algorithms compute standardized medical treatments, and produce (spit out) standardized treatment plans.

The Archimedes Model is one such system based on medical algorithms. Pushed by the incestuous Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust (or OHIET), and financially linked to OHIET trustee David C. Kendrick, the Archimedes Model is about “quantifying healthcare,” and utilizes mathematical medical algorithms to produce (spit out) standardized treatment recommendations.

The OHIET was created by a stealth amendment inserted into SB 1373 in the last week of May 2010.  SB 1373 initially appeared as a single-subject bill dealing with just COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease); however, open records documents indicate that SB 1373 was identified early on in the session as the intended vehicle for the OHIET Trust language.

The bill’s authors were Senator Brian Crain and Rep. Colby Schwartz, both of whom claim to not remember the OHIET trust language.

[For more information see the OK-SAFE power point entitled Health Care Reform – IT, Security and Privacy Concerns, slides 33-35 about the OHIET and Archimedes.]

Replacing real doctors with “virtual doctors” is a key part of  health care reform/reinvention in this country, and serve not only to standardize health care, they are also intended to fill the provider-gap caused by covering all those additional people with health insurance.  

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Data produced by Archimedes can include such quantified information as  “Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALY), and Cost per Quality Adjusted Life Years; it performs a sort of cost-benefit analysis.  This decision support tool is intended to be usable  not only by doctors, but by nurses, physicians assistants, and policy makers as well.  Handy for the state (State), wouldn’t you say?

With HB 2266, it is evident that Rep. Cox (R-HD 5) is aligning the state with the goals of the OHIET Trust  members who want to make sure the Archimedes decision support tool is used statewide, as stated in their Operational Plan submitted to the Office of the National Coordinator in late 2011. (See page 13 of the pdf here.)

HB 2266 is going to be heard in the Public Health meeting on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM in Room 412- C.

Tuesday happens to be Valentines Day, so Happy Valentines Day, Dr. Cox! Too bad the citizens of HD 5 could not utilize Archimedes themselves to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on you first, and then decide whether you are worth re-electing or not.

Calls Needed

Call Committee Chair Rep. John Enns and Vice-Chair David Derby to ask them to vote NO on this bill.

Enns – Phone: 405-527-7321  Email: john.enns@okhouse.gov

Derby – Phone: 405-527 -7377  Email: david.derby@okhouse.gov

Other committee members include:

Rep. Cannaday, Ed Rep. Cox, Doug Rep. Grau, Randy
Rep. Hilliard, Wes Rep. Holland, Corey Rep. McAffrey, Al
Rep. McDaniel, Jeannie Rep. Nollan, Jadine Rep. Peters, Ron
Rep. Ritze, Mike Rep. Roberts, Sean Rep. Schwartz, Colby

Using software programs to make medical decisions, like Quality-Adjusted Life Years, is part of our managed care future.  What a future.

More on Archimedes, MyHealth Access Network, Beacon Communities (federally funded), and David Kendrick:

Archimedes’ Individualized Guidelines and Outcomes (IndiGO) Deployed at Tulsa Health System

– Clinical application of Archimedes’ physician and patient decision support tool grows –

“San Francisco, CA and Tulsa, OK – January 19, 2012 –  Archimedes Inc., a healthcare modeling company, and MyHealth Access Network, a Beacon Community in Oklahoma, today announced the planned deployment of Archimedes’ Individualized Guidelines and Outcomes (IndiGO) platform, a physician and patient decision support tool.  IndiGO could ultimately be used by doctors to work with their patients to inform the health decisions of as many as 810,000 Oklahomans.  The MyHealth Access Network deployment marks the third deployment of the tool in the past three months.”

And:

“MyHealth Access Network, a Beacon Community, will deploy IndiGO across its region…“The IndiGO tool will enable our healthcare professionals to sift through the enormous volume of healthcare data on each patient to focus on what is most important,” said David Kendrick, M.D., M.P.H., principle investigator and CEO of MyHealth Access Network.”

Rest of article here.

Senate Committee Passes Brown’s Health Care Info Bills – SB 999 and SB 1059

OK-SAFE, Inc. – Update to 2/9/12 post.

Despite the objections of all the people who really don’t want more government access to their health information, the Senate Retirement and Insurance committee yesterday passed SB 999 and SB 1059.  (See post below for details about the bills).

According to those present and listening online, the committee members asked few, if any, intelligent questions about either SB 999 or SB 1059, possibly reflecting their lack of understanding about what they’re actually dealing with.

But that’s okay – Senator Brown couldn’t have answered those questions anyway.

Why? Because Brown doesn’t really understand what either these bills do, either.

Despite this fact, it is Brown himself calling others  “misinformed” about his proposed Comprehensive Health Care Information System (SB 999).   Quoted as saying, “There is a lot of misinformation out there about this bill.”, he continued to claim that SB 999 is just a website for for consumer to compare prices of procedures on within a certain radius of one’s zip code.

(Aside: Typically, the only people comparing prices for surgery are those wanting cosmetic surgery, like a boob job.  How many people shop around for the best price on, say, knee replacement?  They want to know who does the best job, not who does it the cheapest.  For heaven’s sake, this is not  an oil change.)

Below are how the Retirement and Insurance Committee members voted on SB 999 and SB 1059 on 2/9/12:

Votes on SB 999 – by Senator Bill Brown

Approved 8-2

Aye: Adelson, Brecheen, Crain, Stanislawski, Treat, Wilson, Aldridge, Brown

Nay: Anderson, Bass

Votes on SB 1059 – by Senator Brown

Approved 5-3

Aye:  Adelson, Stanislawski, Treat, Aldridge, Brown

Nay: Anderson, Bass, Wilson

Might want to send Thank You’s to Senators Patrick Anderson and Randy Bass, and even Senator Jim Wilson, who got one right.

Patrick Anderson: anderson@oksenate.gov – Randy Bass: bass@oksenate.gov

Jim Wilson: wilson@oksenate.gov (SB 1059 only)

Tulsa County Republicans

Notice that all those Senators from Tulsa (Adelson-D, Brown-R, Crain-R, and Stanislawski-R) voted AYE on SB 999.  The Tulsa County Republic County Convention is set for Saturday, March 24, 2012 – might want to bring these vote results with you.

See details in post below entitled Brown’s Big-Government Health Information Bills Being Heard 2/9/12 for more information on what is wrong with SB 999 and SB 1059.

February 8, 2012

Brown’s Big-Government Health Information Bills Being Heard Thursday, 2/9/12 – Calls Needed

OK-SAFE, Inc. – The OK Senate is showing what is important to them – certain bills are getting an earlier hearing than others.  These must rank higher on the food chain.

The Senate’s Retirement and Insurance Committee will meet at 10:00 am on Thursday, February 9, 2012 in Room 419-C to  hear nine bills; five of the nine are authored by Senator Bill Brown.  Senator Brown happens to be the Chairman of the Committee.

Good to Chairman, hey?

Two of Senator Brown’s bills of great concern:

  • SB 999 – Health care: directing the Insurance Department to establish a comprehensive health care information system.
  • SB 1059 – Insurance; creating the Health Care Choice Act.

SB 999 Issues

In 2011 Brown introduced SB 411, which is identical to this year’s SB 999.  This comprehensive health care information system is such a big-government, big-brother bill one wonders why a “conservative” Republican is running it (again)?

This “comprehensive health information system” language is modeled after New Hampshire’s, who established their system a few years ago. OK’s language is virtually identical to New Hampshire’s.

Last year, SB 411 passed out of the Senate, squeaked out of the House Insurance Committee on 3/28/11, and almost made it the House floor for a vote.  Calls to the House members stalled the bill and prevented it’s being voted on on the floor.  What stopped it was research on the bill that identified it for what it is – another government data gathering effort, marketed as “just a website” that offers health care price comparison information to folks who visit the website.

SB 999 is Brown’s attempt to do something for “consumers.”  In reality, what it would accomplish is help make government bigger, more intrusive, and ultimately helps  “Obama Care” health care reinvention work.

Comprehensive means Comprehensive

The data set required is all encompassing: name; address (including email address, and related url and IP address); birth date; gender; family data includes information on spouse, children, parents, siblings, and legal guardian; demographic information including race, income, and location; medical information includes everything, include behavioral and mental health claims data  – “all claims related to behavioral or mental health shall be included in the medical claims file“; banking; and even auto insurance policy information.

EVERYONE’s data is captured and used by the state.  New Hampshire’s administrative rule over this system reads, in part:

PART Ins 4004  HEALTH CARE CLAIMS DATA SET FILING

Ins 4004.01  Data Set Filing Description.

(a)  Beginning on June 1, 2005, and continuing thereafter in accordance with the submission schedule set forth in Ins 4005.05, each carrier and each health care claims processor shall submit to the NHID and to the DHHS, or their designee, a completed health care claims data set for all residents of New Hampshire and for all members who receive services under a policy issued in New Hampshire. ”

This means a data set on ALL RESIDENTS is collected and submitted to the NH Insurance Dept. and the Dept. of Health and Human Services.  ALL means ALL.  After New Hampshire adopted this system, the state outsourced the service to Maine.  Who, by now, may have outsourced it yet again.

In fact, so much information is gathered to make up this data set, the Administrative rules describing the data set and the coding requirements for the New Hampshire health information system is over 120 pages long.

Government is in the health information data gathering mode and is very busy figuring out more ways to get that data and link it to other networks.  This is the real purpose and intent of health care reform.

At best, Sen. Brown is naive.  He claims to just want a “website for price comparisons” and seems reluctant to ask the common sense questions.

Senator Brown, how do you think this type of website gets access to the massive amounts of necessary information in the first place?

Does you think that comprehensive data sets and treatment costs are just “out there somewhere” and will appear on the state’s website without requiring expansive and intrusive administrative rules to make it a reality?

The cost information used for price comparisons comes from the state’s being given access to everyone’s insurance claims information, in addition to a whole lot of other personal information about each of us.

Regarding the information, where is the information database anyway, and who would govern it? There is no requirement in the bill that a database of this sort must reside in the state of Oklahoma.

Senator, did you ask the residents of this state if they wanted their private medical and health information shared, and their insurance claims being used by the state, and even more third parties having access to their personal information?

The majority of folks in this state opposed “Obama Care” and hate the idea of more government data-gathering, especially health data.

Do you even know what organization set the standards for the data collected? Is it an international standards setting organization?  If so, what happens when those international standards change and require more data to be in compliance?  Then what?

Do you know how much information is being collected? What are the sources of the information, and what entities are involved? What information sharing agreements are a;ready in place, how many are in the works, and what to they state? Regarding third party access to the data, who are these third parties and with whom do they share the information?

Money for Data

Since data means money, and the state would dictates its collection, who ends up owning the data collected, who can aggregate it, and share it? Do they get to sell it? To whom? (Data gets sold over and over again, by the way.)

Last year, Brown couldn’t answer any of these questions.

SB 1059 – Insurance Compact – Or Slight of Hand?

This bill is still under examination, but it says its stated purpose is to “allow insurers authorized to engage in the business of insurance in other states to issue accident and health insurance in Oklahoma.”

If allowed to be sold in this state,  OK governing policies would not apply.  Out-of-state health benefits policies would have to include this language, as noted on page 6:

“The benefits of this policy providing your coverage are governed primarily by the law of a state other than Oklahoma.  While this health benefit plan may provide you a more affordable health insurance policy, it may also provide fewer health benefits than those normally included as state-mandated health benefits in policies in Oklahoma.  Please consult your insurance agent to determine which Oklahoma state-mandated health benefits are excluded under this policy.”

PPACA applies to U.S. Territories, referred to as a state in the PPACA law, and includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam,  the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

If the Patient Protection and Affordable Care (PPACA, aka “Obama Care”) is referred to as “law”  and states are being told that they must “comply” or risk Medicaid funds, doesn’t it seem likely that any state Oklahoma enters into a insurance compact with will also have to have “complied” with Obama Care?

Page 7 of SB 1059 goes on to state:

“Pursuant to the provisions of the Health Care Choice Act, a foreign health insurer may sell, offer and provide a health benefit plan to residents in this state, if that insurer:

1.  Offers the same health benefit plan in its domiciliary state and is in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and other requirements of its domiciliary state;”

So what’s the advantage to Oklahomans – more insurance options from states that are also are coming into alignment with the federal dictates?  Or is something else going on here?  Are the compacts intended to be reciprocal?

Please call the following Committee members and ask for NO votes on both SB 999 and SB 1059.  SB 999 is just a bad idea, and too much is still unknown about SB 1059 to risk passing it.

Committee on Retirement and Insurance

Senator Bill Brown – Chair    405-521-5602   Email:   brownb@oksenate .gov

Senator Cliff Aldridge – Vice Chair 405-521-5584   Email: aldridge@oksenate.gov

Senator Patrick Anderson -405-521-5630    Email: anderson@oksenate.gov
Senator Randy Bass  – 405-421-5567   Email: bass@oksenate.gov
Senator Josh Brecheen –  405-521-5586   Email: brecheen@oksenate.gov
Senator Brian Crain –   405-521-5520   Email: crain@oksenate.gov
Senator Mike Mazzei –   405-521-5675   Email: mazzei@oksenate.gov

Senator John Sparks  –    405-521-5553  Email: sparks@oksenate.gov
Senator Gary Stanislawski – 405-521-5624  Email: stanislawski@oksenate.gov
Senator Greg Treat  –  405-521-5632  Email: treat@oksenate.gov
Senator Jim Wilson  –   405-521-5574  Email: wilson@oksenate.gov

Senate toll free number: 1-800-865-6490

February 6, 2012

Speaker Kris Steele’s Bills for 2012

The following 12 bills have been introduced for the 2012 OK Session by House Speaker Kris Steele.  Typically, those bills authored by the speaker are agenda driven – usually reflective of the governor’s agenda.

Of particular note is HB 3053, which sounds like a bill right out of the reinvention of government agenda. (Where government adopts a business model, with the concentration of power at the top, dependent on technology.)

The subject line reads: State government; creating the State Government Administrative Process Consolidation and Reorganization Reform Act of 2012; consolidating certain agencies into the Office of Enterprise and Management Services.

The first day of the OK session is Monday, February 6th, 2012.  Governor Mary Fallin will deliver this year’s state of the state address, which will contain hints as to the legislative agenda – i.e. what she wants the legislature to get done.

It is likely that Speaker Steele’s bills will be right in-line with the Governor’s list of “get ‘er done” items.

Steele’s Bills for 2012:

HB3052 02/06/2012 Corrections; modifying eligibility requirements for earned credits; effective date. Steele(H)
HB3053 02/06/2012 State government; creating the State Government Administrative Process Consolidation and Reorganization Reform Act of 2012; consolidating certain agencies into the Office of Enterprise and Management Services. Steele(H)
HB3054 02/06/2012 Children; clarifying language; effective date. Steele(H)
HB3055 02/06/2012 Waters and water rights; creating the Water for 2060 Act. Steele(H)
HB3056 02/06/2012 State government; modifying plan year dates for state and education employee benefits; effective date. Steele(H)
HB3057 02/06/2012 Transportation funding; modifying amount of certain apportionments; effective date; emergency. Steele(H)
HB3058 02/06/2012 Public health and safety; creating the Oklahoma Hospital Residency Training Act; effective date. Steele(H)
HB3059 02/06/2012 Safe communities; creating the Oklahoma Safe Communities Act of 2012; effective date. Steele(H)
HB3060 02/06/2012 Corrections; creating the Oklahoma Corrections Act of 2012; effective date. Steele(H)
HB3061 02/06/2012 Revenue and taxation; Tax Reform Act of 2012; effective date; emergency. Steele(H)
HB3062 02/06/2012 Department of Human Services; creating the DHS Restructuring Act of 2012; effective date. Steele(H)
HB3063 02/06/2012 Schools; creating the Education Reform Act of 2012; effective date. Steele(H)

February 4, 2012

Health Committee Meeting on the 1st Day of Session? Must be bills to Watch!

First day of the OK Legislative Session is Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.  This first Session convenes at Noon in the House chambers and will include the delivery of the State of the State address by Governor Fallin.

Normally, there are no committee meetings on the first day of session.  However, it looks like the Senate is getting right down to business by having their Health and Human Services Committee Meeting on this busy first day.  Wonder why?

Meeting Date: Monday, February 6, 2012, in Room 511-A.

Start time: Meeting starts 30″ after the State of the State Address (possibly 1:30 pm or so?).

Of initial concern are SB 1002 by Adelson, SB 1161 by Stanislawski, SB 1183 by Burrage, and SB 1433 by Crain.

In looking at Crain’s version of a “Personhood” bill – SB 1433 – there is one glaring omission:  a “person” is not defined.  Defining a “person” as existing from the moment of conception was the intent of last year’s HB 1571, a real “Personhood” bill, which included the following language:

“A.  As used in this section only, “person” means a human being at all stages of human development of life, including the state of fertilization or conception, regardless of age, health, level of functioning, or condition of dependency.

B.  All persons are created free and have inalienable rights.”

SB 1433 does not contain the above legal description and instead falls back on the “human being” and “unborn child” language; this bill does virtually nothing… one wonders what is going on here?

Meeting Details below.

 

MEETING NOTICE

 February 2, 2012

COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

SUBJECT:      First Meeting

DATE:             Monday, February 6, 2012

TIME:               30 Minutes After the State of the State Address

LOCATION:     Room 511-A, State Capitol Building

AGENDA:

1.         SB 1002 By Adelson of the Senate

Patient decision aids; creating the Empowering Patient Decision Act.  Effective date.

2.         SB 1010 By Brecheen of the Senate

Public assistance fraud; requiring certain sign to be posted.  Effective date.

3.         SB 1095 By Laster of the Senate

State Board of Examiners of Psychologists; permitting certain emergency hearings.  Effective date.

4.         SB 1161 By Stanislawski of the Senate

Medicaid; authorizing the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to employ program integrity auditors.  Effective date.

5.         SB 1183 By Burrage of the Senate

Motor vehicle reports; authorizing the Department of Human Services to obtain Motor Vehicle Reports for certain persons.  Emergency.

6.         SB 1433 By Crain of the Senate and Billy of the House

Unborn children; creating the Personhood Act.  Effective date.

7.         Other Business.

Chair: Senator Brian Crain  – Phone:  405-521-5620    Email: crain@oksenate.gov

Vice-Chair: Senator Sean Burrage  – Phone:  405-521-5555   Email: garlick@oksenate.gov

Senate Switchboard: 1-800-865-6490, or 1-405-524-0126

Madhouse

Even though the first day of session is usually a madhouse with too much going on all at once and crowds of people, it would be good for folks to try to attend this first meeting, meet the authors of these bills, and ask them pointed questions about their intentions.

You should also make a point of visiting your own Representative and Senator and express your expectations for this session – such as, “I expect you are NOT going to establish a state-based insurance exchange in the state of Oklahoma. Right?”

 


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