OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

May 3, 2011

OK Exchange Language Found! SB 971 Establishes an Insurance “Network”

Dropping the term “exchange” in favor of “network” and adding “private enterprise” to the title is apparently aimed at providing assurance to Oklahomans that this OK Republican administration is serious about not implementing a Health Insurance Exchange in Oklahoma.

Here is the language found in the newly introduced SB 971, the replacement for the controversial HB 2130, which narrowly passed the OK House on 3/17/11 and which the Senate refused to hear.

See if you can see much assurance that a framework for an exchange is not being built if this bill passes…bill language below:

SB 971, by Myers/Jolley of the Senate and Sears/Martin,(Scott) of the House.


SECTION .     AMENDATORY     Section 2, Chapter 128, O.S.L. 2009 (36 O.S. Supp. 2010, Section 4602), is amended to read as follows:

Section 4602.  A.  The Insurance Commissioner in collaboration with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority shall advise and aid the Health Care for the Uninsured Board (HUB) in its duties.  The Insurance Commissioner is hereby authorized to promulgate such reasonable rules as are necessary to implement the purposes of this act.

B.  The State Board of Health shall direct the implementation and duties of the HUB to assist the Insurance Commissioner.  The duties of the HUB shall be to:

1.  Advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Commissioner as to the matters addressed in subsection C of this section; and

2.  Assist and advise the Commissioner on such other matters as the Commissioner may submit for recommendations to the State Board of Health

The purpose of this act is to allow Oklahoma to establish and operate its own Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network to facilitate access to health insurance and enhance competition in the individual and small employer health insurance markets.

B.  As used in this act:

1.  “Aggregate premiums” means a mechanism to pay insurance premiums with contributions from multiple sources;

2.  “Defined contribution” means pretax dollars contributed by the employer;

3.  “Insurance producer” has the same meaning as defined in Section 1435.2 of Title 36 of the Oklahoma Statutes;

4.  “Network” means the Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network; and

5.  “Network Board” means the Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network Board.

C.  The Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network shall be established as a state-beneficiary public trust.

D.  The Network shall be governed by a board of directors.  The Network Board shall consist of seven (7) members as follows:

1.  One member appointed by the Governor representing health insurance carriers granted a certificate of authority by the Oklahoma Department of Insurance;

2.  One member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives representing consumers and who has purchased policies through the Network or is reasonably expected to purchase policies through the Network;

3.  One member appointed by the Governor who shall be a health care provider;

4.  One member appointed by the Governor who shall be a representative of employer groups;

5.  One member appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate who shall be an insurance agent or broker;

6.  The Insurance Commissioner; and

7.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services.

E.  The Insurance Commissioner shall serve as chair of the Network Board.  The Network Board shall appoint an Executive Director.

F.  In order to avoid the establishment of a federal exchange, the Network shall have the minimum authority under state law that is necessary to implement its purposes.  Funding for the Network shall come from state and private sources.

G.  The purpose of the Network shall be to:

1.  Increase choice and competition in the health insurance market of Oklahoma;

2.  Provide more choices and options in the health insurance market for employees in the state;

3.  Promote and encourage portability of coverage;

4.  Promote a competitive, patient-centered, market based health insurance system that includes a defined-contribution health insurance alternative for employer-sponsored coverage which includes an aggregate premium system;

5.  Encourage health insurance carriers to collaborate with medical providers to offer health insurance coverage that provides consumers quality care delivered in the most cost-effective manner; and

6.  Establish a fair and impartial health insurance producer referral network for the purpose of assisting individual and qualified small employers in obtaining health insurance coverage through the Network.

H.  The Network shall not:

1.  Exercise regulatory authority over any entity;

2.  Discriminate against any qualified health insurance carrier willing to participate in the Network; or

3.  Supplant any marketplace outside the Network.

I.  The Commissioner Network Board shall:

1.  Establish a system of certification for insurance programs offered in this state to be recommended offered by the HUB the Network; and

2.  Establish a system for the credentialing of licensed insurance producers who intend to market insurance programs certified by the state in accordance with this section.

3.  Establish a system of counseling, including a website, for those individuals who are without health insurance and are not covered by Medicaid, that includes but is not limited to:

a.            educating consumers about insurance programs certified by the state in accordance with this section,

b.            aiding consumers in choosing policies that cover medically necessary services for that consumer, and

c.             educating consumers on how to utilize primary and preventative care in order to reduce the unnecessary utilization of services by the consumer; and

4.  Establish a system whereby if an individual qualifies for a subsidy under the premium assistance program, established in Section 1010.1 of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes, that person is able to become enrolled through the HUB in conjunction with local, qualified insurance producers.

J.  All personal information generated through the purchase of any policy purchased through the Network shall remain confidential between the insurer and the insured.

K.  The Network Board shall promulgate rules as necessary to implement the purposes of this act and to help individuals facilitate the selection of health insurance coverage and to allow health insurance carriers to provide market based health insurance products without unnecessary regulation and burdens.

SECTION .     AMENDATORY     Section 3, Chapter 128, O.S.L. 2009 (36 O.S. Supp. 2010, Section 4603), is amended to read as follows:

Section 4603.  A.  The Insurance Commissioner in collaboration with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority shall initiate a program to encourage enrollment of individuals, not covered by insurance or enrolled in Medicaid in health insurance programs.

B.  Upon treatment of an uninsured individual or an individual not covered by enrolled in Medicaid, a health care provider shall refer the individual to the HUB Network established in Section 2 4602 of this act title to begin the enrollment process in a certified insurance plan or the premium assistance program established in Section 1010.1 of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes, if eligible.

SECTION .  The provisions of this act shall be subject to legislative review and renewal no later than May 25, 2014.

SECTION .  This act shall become effective November 1, 2011.

53-1-1708            ARE        4/27/2011 4:10:04 PM

March 18, 2011

Update: Republican-led OK House passes HB 2130, an “ObamaCare” Enabler

Hypocrisy is defined as “the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have, or applying a criticism to others that one does not apply to oneself. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie.”

Most, if not all, of the current crop of OK Republicans campaigned in 2010 against what the public often calls “ObamaCare” (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA).  Oklahomans opposed this bill in its entirety, not just the individual mandate. That opposition included the development of state-run exchanges.

Today, however, the OK House passed, albeit narrowly, a controversial piece of enabling legislation authored by Speaker Kris Steele; HB 2130, paving the way for the further implementation of “ObamaCare” in Oklahoma via health care exchanges.

The Republican arguments in support of this idea included citing the Heritage Foundation,  OCPA, and Sen. Tom Coburn as supportive of the creation of these health care exchanges.*

Rep. Glen Mulready, presenting the bill for Steele, claimed at one point that the idea of health insurance exchanges was “highjacked” by ObamaCare.  (The flaw in this logic is that if the exchanges are so “conservative” how did they end up being the cornerstone of the entire PPACA socialized medicine Act, being mentioned 278 times and funded through federal grant money?) Something doesn’t compute, Rep. Mulready.

HB 2130, defining the governance of the HUB responsible for planning and implementing the Health Insurance Exchange in Oklahoma, included an amendment created at a “facilitated” meeting of a Health Information Exchange Stakeholder group held at Shepherd Mall the day before the vote.

The state recently accepted $54 million to develop the IT support system necessary to “reinvent” the health care delivery system, which includes the health insurance exchange.  (The HIE enables the transfer of electronic medical/health records – called EMRs/EHRs – between health care providers.)

The Grim Future

The future of medical care is this: The Health Insurance Exchange will eventually be connected to the “other” exchange – the Health Information Exchange (HIE). [The HIE enables the transfer of electronic medical records – called EMRs – between health care providers.]

We will live with both Managed Care and Managed Competition in an e-health system where invisible “Navigators” help consumers (not customers, consumers) make “appropriate” health care choices online; where actually visiting a real doctor is limited to “qualified” consumers; where everyone has a health ID card tied to their bank; where people are indirectly forced to participate in state-run exchanges in order to qualify for the tax credits necessary to offset their new $24,000/person annual health insurance premiums; and where no single insurance carrier will be burdened with too many sick people.

(“Navigators” are part of the PPACA law, too.)

Oh, and medical advise and/or treatment will be offered online, issued by a software program that has determined your treatment based on analyzing your accumulated electronic health “data”.

A grim future indeed.

The 51 Yes Votes (italics=Democrat, bold=Tulsa county):

Armes, Banz, Billy, Cannaday, Casey, Cockroft, Coody, Cooksey, Denney, DeWitt, Farley, Grau, Hall, Hardin, Hickman, Jackson, Johnson, Jordan, Joyner, Liebmann, Martin (Sc.), Martin (St.), McAffrey, McCullough, McDaniel (J.), McNiel, Mulready, Nelson, Newell, Nollan, Ortega, Ownbey, Peters, Peterson, Pruett, Quinn, Richardson, Roberts (D.), Russ, Sanders, Scott, Sears, Shannon, Stiles, Sullivan, Thomsen, Tibbs, Virgin, Watson, Wright, and Mr. Speaker (Steele).

The 34 No Votes (italics=Democrat, bold=Tulsa County):

Bennett, Blackwell, Brumbaugh, Christian, Condit, Derby, Dorman, Faught, Fourkiller, Glenn, Hamilton, Hilliard, Holland, Hoskin, Inman, Kern, Key, Kirby, Kouplen, Lockhart, McDaniel (R.), Moore, Morrissette, Murphey, Proctor, Reynolds, Ritze, Rousselot, Schwartz, Sherrer, Terrill, Vaughan, Wesselhoft, Williams.

The Excused Votes (italics=Democrat; bold=Tulsa County):

, Cox, Dank, Enns, McPeak, Morgan, Osborn, Pittman, Renegar, Roan, Roberts (S.), Shelton, Shoemake, Shumate, Trebilcock, Walker. (That’s a lot of people off the floor for a vote.)

The 51 who voted for this bad bill need to hear from every Oklahoman; the 34 who voted No need to be thanked.

Call OK House Members:1-800-522-8502, 405-521-2711
Email OK House Members: Current List here.

HB 2130 now moves to the Senate where the ‘spin’ on this bill will continue.

*This fallacy, called an Appeal to Authority, is used as an intimidation tactic to quell opposition. “Appeals to Authority (One, Many, or Elite) – A fallacious Appeal to Authority attempts to persuade by leveraging expertise, tradition, boasted credentials, fame, social status, celebrity, etc., when these characteristics do not necessarily pertain to the issue at hand. Even when cited authorities have legitimate expertise in the topic, their expertise itself does not guarantee the truth of the argument under discussion…” and “The fallacy assumes a link between authority and truth that does not of necessity exist.”     Source: Biblical Logic, by Joel McDurmon.

March 15, 2011

OK-SAFE Meetings Re: Implementing ObamaCare in Oklahoma

Most Oklahomans (and most Americans) objected to the idea of socialized medicine as specified in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (PPACA), aka ObamaCare.  It’s companion law was the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.  Collectively these two laws are referred to as the Affordable Care Act.

It appears that the Henry/Fallin administrations, as well as the Oklahoma legislature, have been, and currently are, engaged in implementing the provisions of ObamaCare, as evidenced by the federal grant applications and legislation, while appearing to oppose ObamaCare via SQ 756 and the national lawsuit.

There will be an open discussion/review of both the grants and the legislation paving the way for the implementation of ‘ObamaCare’ in Oklahoma at two meetings this week.
See details below.

OKC – Wednesday, March 16, 2011 – The Village Library, 10307 N. Penn Ave, The Village (OKC), Oklahoma.  Time 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

Tulsa/Broken Arrow – Saturday, March 19, 2011 – Heartland HQ Building, 1008-B N. Hickory, Broken Arrow, OK.  Time: 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

Currently, HB 2130 by Steele, is a key piece of enabling legislation dealing with the HUB board and the development of the Health Insurance Exchanges.  HB 2130 removes the Insurance Commissioner from oversight of the exchange and puts in his place Dr. Terry Cline, OK Sec. of Health and Human Services, appointed by Gov. Fallin.

This bill is being presented by freshman legislator Rep. Glen Mulready, (HD-68) who apparently agreed to carry this bill for leadership.  Leadership has not done him any favors here – HB 2130 is not a bill one would wish to be associated with in the future.

We are recommending a NO vote on HB 2130.  We also suggest to Rep. Mulready that if he is anxious for approval that he might want to get dog – politicians make lousy friends.

Psalm 118: 8,9 –It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man; It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”

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