OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

March 9, 2012

Insurance Exchange Bill on “Hold” Pending Supreme Court Action – OK Senate Changes Mind on SB 1629??

OK-SAFE, Inc. – In a very interesting move the OK Senate on Thursday (3/8/12) issued a press release stating that, “legislative leaders and the chairmen of the Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law have opted to wait until the outcome of the Supreme Court proceedings before moving further forward with SB 1629.”

SB 1629 would have established the “Health Insurance Private Marketplace Network Trust”, governed by an appointed Board, that would administer a premium assistance plan (low income insurance, Medicaid), and assist small businesses and/or employees to purchase employer-sponsored insurance.

In other words, a state-based insurance exchange, tying users of Medicaid and private insurance together; a sort of public/private partnership exchange.

But, those phone calls, emails, in-person lobbying, and robo calls, all objecting to an insurance exchange (state-based or otherwise), paid off.   One bad bill has been stopped.

For now.

Score one for the people of Oklahoma!

However, in politics, there is always a Plan B.   What Oklahomans can expect is some other tactic being used to achieve the same end – the establishment of some sort of web-based insurance exchange in the state of Oklahoma, that will tie into the health information exchange, which is being advanced by the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust (or OHIET), unstopped.

What may happen is the utilization of the existing HUB law (HB 2026 in 2009) passed a few years ago, to create an exchange, possibly bidding out some service to a third party.  (See details below press release.)

Send Thank Yous

If you would like to send a thank you for putting SB 1629 on hold, you may want to contact the following legislators, in addition to your own Senator:

  • Senator Brian Bingman – bingman@oksenate.gov
  • Senator Gary Stanislawski – stanislawski@oksenate.gov
  • Rep. Kris Steele – krissteele@okhouse.gov
  • Rep. Glen Mulready – mulready@oksenate.gov

 

Below is the text of the 3/8/12 Press Release, issued jointly by Senate and House leadership.

Oklahoma State Legislature

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2012

SB 1629 is on hold pending Supreme Court action

The Legislature will wait until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the federal health care law before proceeding with Senate Bill 1629, legislators announced Thursday.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer, perhaps as early as June, on a legal challenge brought by several states alleging the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

Should the high court overturn the law, the possibility exists that health insurance exchanges would not be necessary. And should the high court uphold the federal law, nuances within the majority opinion could help legislators craft the most effective Oklahoma-based marketplace possible to defend against the imposition of a federal exchange.

Given these dynamics, legislative leaders and the chairmen of the Joint Committee of Federal Health Care Law have opted to wait until the outcome of the Supreme Court proceedings before moving further forward with SB 1629. If the court upholds the law, the Legislature is already prepared to continue defending against federal intervention into the Oklahoma health care market.

“There are many common-sense solutions conservatives can agree on to lower the cost of healthcare, expand access and choices to more individuals, and increase the quality of our care – all through tried-and-true principles of the free market,” said Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law.

“These are ideas worth pursuing, and we eagerly await the Supreme Court’s repeal of ObamaCare so we can begin the very serious business of addressing our healthcare challenges with solutions that expand freedom instead of government,” Stanislawski said.

The Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law met five times throughout the interim to determine the effect the law will have on Oklahoma. Among its recommendations was to craft a state-based marketplace in order to prevent the federal government from imposing a federal exchange in Oklahoma.

“If the court doesn’t reject this law as we hope, developing a state-based exchange remains our best defense against unwanted federal intervention,” said Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, the committee’s other co-chairman. “We think we have fashioned a good plan. We are willing to wait to ensure we have the best possible solution to protect Oklahoma from federal intervention.”

Legislative leaders supported the committee co-chairmen’s decision.

“Republicans in the state Senate will do everything in our power to block ObamaCare in Oklahoma. When President Obama rammed through a trillion dollar unconstitutional assault on the healthcare freedom of Oklahomans, he proved his values are fundamentally at odds with ours,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “The fight to preserve healthcare freedom is far from over.”

“Developing a state-based solution has always been and remains the best, most realistic way to defend against a federal exchange. The reality is we’re not yet at the point where we absolutely have to deploy that defense,” said House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee. “Should the time come, we’ll be prepared to act thanks to the groundwork the committee has laid for us.”

For more information, contact:
Nathan Atkins
405.521.5605
atkins@oksenate.gov

John Estus
405.962.7674 desk, 405.706.0084 cell
john.estus@okhouse.gov

Title 36, Section 4601 – 4603:

Article 46 – Health Care for Oklahomans Act

§ 4601. Short Title

§ 4602. Duties of Health Care for the Uninsured Board

§ 4603. Program to Encourage Individuals to Enroll in Health Insurance Programs – Referral of Uninsured Individuals to the HUB

This is the section of law last year’s HB 2130 was attempting to amend.  This will bear watching for the rest of this session.

 

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?”

 


April 1, 2010

Big Gov’t Lobbyist Dunlap wants RFID chips in the OK drivers license

Representing a firm called HID Global, big government lobbyist Jim Dunlap is wheeling and dealing his way into amending HB 2569, a bill currently working its’ way through the OK legislature and which prohibits imbedding/affixing/adhering a radio frequency identification (RFID) device or RFID-type ink  into or on to the OK drivers license or state-issued identification cards.

HID Global and lobbyist Jim Dunlap want to amend this bill to allow for tracking chips in the OK drivers licenses/ID cards.  

HID Global, of course, just happens to make RFID chips and other tracking technology.   

OK State Senator Dan Newberry, the Senate author of HB 2569, initially said he would be honored to run this bill, agreeing with the principle that people are not inventory to be tagged and tracked.

However, Senator Newberry, after a visit this past week by the special-interest-group-paid lobbyist Dunlap, now appears to waffling in his position. 

Parroting the same talking points as lobbyist Dunlap, Newberry offered OK-SAFE the ‘opportunity to draft language as tight as possible’ to both prohibit RFID chips in the OK drivers license…and allow them.

Senator Newberry, OK-SAFE suggests you read the bill you agreed to carry.  HB 2569, as written, is already as tight as possible on this issue by prohibiting the privacy-busting chip in the OK drivers license. 

Are you now saying you want to open the door for future ‘chipping’ of  the OK drivers license?  Do you really want to be known as the Senator who did that?

OK-SAFE declined the offer and will not be party to an effort to open the legislative door allowing for future tracking devices to be imbedded in the OK driver license.

HB 2569 is Popular in OK:

HB 2569 sailed through the OK House on 3/4/10 with a veto-proof majority (76-13) and, due to it’s popularity, had 2 additional House members signed on as co-sponsors, bringing the total House co-sponsors to 8. 

HB 2569  passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee by a hefty majority vote of 17-3 on Wednesday, 3/31/10, with title off.  HB 2569, as currently written, has $0 fiscal impact. 

Per Appropriations Chair Senator Mike Johnson, and Senate rules, bills with $0 fiscal impact and with title off may be moved to the Senate floor and avoid going to what is called ‘conference committee’, where members meet informally in the halls, and where shadowy amendments get added to bills, which is what the lobbyist is pusing for. 

Surely Senator Newberry doesn’t want to be known as the legislator who opened the door to tracking chips in the OK drivers license?

This is avoidable. Senator Newberry has the power to avoid having HB 2569 going to a  ‘conference committee’, and can move it to the Senate floor. Once on the Senate floor, Senator Newberry can move to restore the title and pass this popular bill, in its original format. 

Resist the Chip!

Please call Senator Dan Newberry and ask him to stand strong on the original language in HB 2569, and move the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.  Tell Senator Newberry to ‘resist the chip’.

Senator Dan Newberry: 1-405-521-5600

Sen. Dan Newberry: newberry@oksenate.gov

Follow the Money: www.followthemoney.com

OK State Ethics Commission:  http://www.ok.gov/oec/

To see campaign contributions, click on Campaign Reporting, then follow the links to see the C-1R reports of campaign contributions.

From the Lobbyist Reporting link on the OK Ethics Commission website:
L100128 – Dunlap, James Robert
Work 405.361.5399
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
CompSource Oklahoma
ConocoPhillips
Covanta Energy
Cox Communications
Hewlett-Packard Company
Jim Dunlap Consultants
Lilly USA, LLC
Majority Plus, LLC
OGE Energy Corp.
Oklahoma Lakes and Countries Association
Oklahoma Mid-sized City Coalition
Oklahoma Psychiatric Physicians Association
Oklahoma State Medical Association [OSMA]
Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America [PhRMA]
TransCanada
University of Central Oklahoma [UCO]

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