OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

May 19, 2011

It’s Official! Health Insurance Exchange Bill (SB 971) Won’t Be Heard

Oklahoma City, 5/18/11 – Legislative leaders today announced that SB 971, the Senate substitute for the controversial  Health Insurance Exchange bill (HB 2130), will not be heard this session.

Instead, the OK Legislature will form a special joint legislative committee to examine how the  federal health care bill impacts Oklahoma.

This is a win for the citizens who have been lobbying against this effort all session.  (See earlier posts below for details).

If these legislators are serious about really examining the federal health care bill, and health insurance exchanges, and willing to be honest about its’ impact on Oklahomans, they will have independent citizen-researchers participating in this committee.

Below is today’s press release from the OK Legislature.

Health Care Law To Be Studied Over Interim
Direct Link to This Story

PhotoContact:Jarred Brejcha
Capitol: (405) 521-5605

Contact: John Estus
Capitol: (405) 962-7674

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 18, 2011) – Legislative leaders today announced the formation of a special joint legislative committee that will study how the new federal health care law affects Oklahoma.

As a result, legislation that would create an Oklahoma health insurance exchange will not be heard this year.

Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman and House Speaker Kris Steele ordered the formation of the joint committee.

“Studying this issue in more depth makes for healthy legislative process,” said Steele, R-Shawnee. “The more ideas we have at the table, the better. The scope of this law is vast, so we need to make sure we are prepared to address this law in a conservative way that is best for Oklahoma.”

The joint committee will hold a series of public meetings over the legislative interim focusing on how the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affects Oklahoma. The committee will also explore how to best approach the law as the state awaits the outcome of its lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality.

The committee will make recommendations on how the state should address the federal health care law.

The committee will also study the costs local governments and businesses will face as a result of the federal health care law.

“The best course of action for Oklahoma to take at this point is to step back and absorb the weight of this federal law and study it in more depth so we can proceed on the right course,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “In light of our opposition to the federal healthcare law, we need to have the public and private sector work together to come up with the best solutions for Oklahoma.”

The committee’s co-chairs will be Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa. Additional members will be named at a later date. The committee will have bipartisan membership.

“There is widespread support and excitement among all the stakeholders about the prospect of studying this issue in more depth,” Stanislawski said. “Participation in this joint committee will be enthusiastic. We look forward to receiving a wide variety of input and coming up with recommendations that serve all of Oklahoma well.”

“Oklahomans clearly oppose the federal health care law, as evidenced by the passage last year of a state question opting out of the law and our lawsuit against the federal government challenging the law,” Mulready said. “We do not like this law, but we must responsibly address it so Oklahomans can continue to have choices rather than mandates when it comes to their health care.”

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