OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

September 7, 2011

UPDATE: Revised First Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law Meeting Notice – Sept. 14, 2011

(9/8/11 UPDATE: Below is the revised agenda for the first joint committee meeting.)

The first meeting of the joint legislative committee on the effects of the federal health care law (Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare”) on Oklahoma will be held in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 9:00 am in the House chamber at the OK State Capitol.

This first meeting appears to be featuring some of the key members of the Health Insurance Exchange Steering Committee from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.  The OHCA is the recipient of the federal grants to implement health care reform, including a $1 M planning grant, as well as being the intended recipient of the $54 M Early Innovator Grant the state accepted then “rejected” earlier this year.

Committee co-chairs are Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Glen Mulready. Every Oklahoman with concerns about the implementation of health insurance exchanges (now “marketplaces”), the use of electronic medical/health records and medical privacy should try to attend this meeting.  This looks to be an all-day meeting, so come prepared to spend some time.

The entire notice is below, including the joint committee members.

Future meetings are to be held in Tulsa, and then again in Oklahoma City.  Dates and times are not confirmed at this time.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEETING NOTICE

Date of Notice: September 7, 2011

JOINT COMMITTEE ON FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW

SUBJECT:                  First Meeting

MEETING DATE:   Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MEETING TIME:        9:00 A.M.

LOCATION:                House Chamber, State Capitol Building

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Agenda:

9:00 am – 11:30 am                                                                          

1.              Welcome and Introductions

2.              Present State of Health Outcomes and Health Care in Oklahoma

Julie Cox-Kain, Chief Operating Officer, Oklahoma State Department of Health

                                                Mike Fogarty, Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Care Authority

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 3.              PPACA: Description of Mandates, Costs, and Other Implications for the State Concerning Public                         Health

Julie Cox-Kain, Chief Operating Officer, Oklahoma State Department of Health

 4.              Medicaid and Accountable Care Organizations

Buffy Heater, Director of Planning and Development, Oklahoma Health Care Authority

                                                Cindy Roberts, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Care Authority

                                                Jason Sutton, Policy Impact Director, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

5.              Other Business

Senate Appointees:                                                     House Appointees:

Senator Gary Stanislawski, Co-Chair                Rep. Glen Mulready, Co-Chair

Senator Cliff Aldridge                                                 Rep. Doug Cox

Senator Bill Brown                                                      Rep. Randy Grau

Senator Sean Burrage                                                Rep. Danny Morgan

Senator Brian Crain                                                    Rep. Jeannie McDaniel

Senator John Sparks                                                  Rep. Jason Nelson

Senate Staff:

Jennifer Mullens, Legislative Analyst

Alicia Emerson, Legislative Analyst

Lori Block, Staff Attorney

Andrew Messer, Fiscal Analyst

Anthony Sammons, Staff Attorney

Darrell D. Washington, Administrative Assistant

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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.”

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):

Brown
, 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 2, 2011

OK Republicans Implementing “Obama Care”

On Friday, Feburary 25, 2011 OK Governor Mary Fallin issued a press release announcing “Oklahoma Will Accept $54 M “Early Innovator Grant” to Support Oklahoma-Based Health Insurance Exchange.” 

Noticably missing from the announcement is the fact that the “Early Innovators” grants are to fund implementation of the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure needed to operate Health Insurance Exchanges, a cornerstone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.”

The grant application, officially called the Cooperative Agreements to Support Innovative Exchange Information Technology Systems, is a 41-page document outlining the purpose, authority, and background of the funding “opportunity”, as well as eligibility requirements states must meet in order to qualify. 

The application also notes the specific sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, together referred to as the Affordable Care Act) authorizing the funding of the grant.

Oklahoma was one of seven initial grant awardees, with our state getting the largest dollar amount – $54,582,269.  The grantee in Oklahoma is the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

According to Grants.gov, the expected number of awards is 51 – all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

All of the exchanges are to be interoperable and usable by other states.

Exchanges – Cornerstone of the PPACA

The creation of Health Insurance Exchanges is a cornerstone of  PPACA (ObamaCare), without which there would be no socialized health care plan.  The plan requires an IT infrastructure to be in place in order to function.  No Exchanges, no ObamaCare.

These insurance Exchanges are mentioned 278 times in the Act.

The specific section of PPACA (ObamaCare) noted in the grant application are:

Page 5 of the grant application cites Section 1311 of the PPACA.
 
“C. Background
On March 23, 2010, the President signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. On March 30, 2010, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 was signed into law. The two laws are collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act includes a wide variety of provisions designed to expand coverage, provide more health care choices, enhance the quality of health care for all Americans, hold insurance companies more accountable, and lower health care costs. Among its provisions, the law provides grant funding to assist States in implementing parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Section 1311 of the Affordable Care Act provides funding assistance to the States for the planning and establishment of Health Insurance Exchanges (“Exchanges”). The Affordable Care Act provides that each State may elect to establish an Exchange that would: 1) facilitate the purchase of qualified health plans (QHPs); 2) provide for the establishment of a Small Business Health Options Program (“SHOP Exchange”) designed to assist qualified employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in QHPs offered in the SHOP Exchange; and 3) meet other requirements specified in the Act.”

Pages 6 & 7 of the application cite Section 1323 of the PPACA:

“The products of this Cooperative Agreement will be available to all States and the District of Columbia for evaluation and adaptability throughout the process so that non-grantee-States will not have to wait until a complete product is finished to test for adaptability for its existing systems. As IT systems are developed, attention should be paid to assuring that information gathered will be accessible for evaluation purposes. U.S. Territories that establish Exchanges under Section 1323 will be eligible to participate in the evaluation and adaptability process and the products developed under this Cooperative Agreement will be available to them.”

Pages 7, 17, 21, 28, and 29  of the application cite Section 1561 of PPACA:

Key Principles of Exchange IT capabilities for Early Innovators
• The organization governing the design, development, and implementation of the core capabilities must follow standard industry Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) frameworks including the use of iterative and incremental development methodologies. The governing body must also be able to produce requirement specifications, analysis, design, code, and testing that can be easily shared with other interested and authorized stakeholders (i.e., other States, consortia of States, or any entity that is responsible for establishing an Exchange).
• The design must take advantage of a Web Services Architecture (using XML, SOAP and WSDL or REST) and Service Oriented Architecture approach for design and development leveraging the concepts of a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., Cloud Computing).
• The services description/definition, services interfaces, policies and business rules, must be published in a web services registry to support both internal and external service requests that are public and private, and be able to manage role-based access to underlying data.
Per Section 1561 of the Affordable Care Act, all designs must follow the standards thatare currently outlined in the recommendations published by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). For details on Section 1561 Standards, see: http://healthit.hhs.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&mode=2&objID=3161.
• Per National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publications, the design and implementation must take into account security standards and controls. (For details on NIST publications, see: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsSPs.html)

Health Insurance Exchange Legislation

Currently there are several live bills implementing the Health Insurance Exchange but two worth noting are SB 960 by Sen. Bill Brown, and HB 2130 by Rep. Kris Steele.

Health Insurance Exchange Impact on Independent Brokers

Several independent insurance brokers in Oklahoma are concerned about the impact the exchanges will have on their businesses.  The exchanges operate contrary to the free enterprise system and most likely will put the independent insurance broker out of business.  Click here to hear the 2/27/11 interview with Mark Croucher of WHY-Insurance. 

To contact Governor Fallin about this issue:
Phone: 405-521-2342

To call Senate Pro-Temp Brian Bingman:
Phone: 405-521-5528
Email: bingman@oksenate.gov

To call House Speaker Kris Steele:
Phone: 1-405-557-7345
Email: krissteele@okhouse.gov

More on this subject in the weeks ahead.

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