“And lest we forget, there are no real leaders in the GOP in either Oklahoma or nationally. There is no figurehead to which we can turn and wrap our hearts and minds around at present. Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee finds himself in a world of political hurt and though right now he is the John Gotti (Teflon Don) of Oklahoma politics and Coffee’s man man Fred Morgan (Sammy Gravano) are both damaged goods. House Speaker Chris Benge has the personality of wet grass and is clearly in the hip pocket of the insurance lobby. So who is left? The youngster, Ken Miller? Nope. State Senator Randy Brogdon? Hell no – Charlie Meadows has effectively taken Randy off the table as a viable leader.”
By Rep. Jason Murphey
What if you had a pressing need for a new car? And what if, when you went to buy a new car, the only vehicle you were allowed to purchase was a luxury vehicle with all options pre-installed? Can you imagine how many Oklahomans would be unable to afford transportation if this scenario were a reality?
One of the most pressing topics the Legislature deals with each year is health care. The issue is of added importance because Oklahoma has the fourth highest population of uninsured people. The most obvious reason for this lack of coverage is the high price of purchasing insurance in Oklahoma.
The average price of a job-based health insurance policy in Oklahoma is $4,088. The national average is $3,991. Oklahoma’s median income is significantly lower than the national average, which means that Oklahomans pay higher health insurance costs with a lower average income.
One of the reasons for high insurance fees in Oklahoma is because the Legislature has driven up the cost over the years by mandating a “one size fits all” approach to coverage. Policies become even more expensive when the Legislature approves new laws to mandate the coverage of any number of heartbreaking medical situations that have not traditionally been covered by health insurance policies Read more…
From The Hill’s Congress Blog:
Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R), president of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), says Treasury Secretary Paulson’s regulatory proposals for life insurers would save consumers $5.7 billion per year.
Brain Tumor Buzz, reports that yesterday a Senate committee passed legislation that would require insurance companies to pay for experimental treatments:
Sen. Andrew Rice, the bill’s author, said it was a matter of fairness. He said Medicaid and Medicare patients can go through clinical trials and still have their routine care compensated.
The bill is called Steffanie’s Law, and according to the Oklahoman:
The legislation is named for Steffanie Collings, a Noble teenager who has been battling a brain tumor.
Monty Collings, her father, said the bill will not help Steffanie or the family, which has amassed more than $400,000 in medical bills that their insurance provider will not cover.
“The sole reason I’m putting so much effort in this is so other families won’t be put through this,” Collings said.
He said his daughter, who will be 19 next month, is in the final stages of her illness. She’s been undergoing care using a new treatment that is part of a clinical trial.
The Hays Daily News quoted Sen. Rice:
“Families in Oklahoma should not have to decide between potential lifesaving treatments and personal financial ruin,” Rice said after Thursday’s vote. “There is little evidence that routine health care costs for clinical trial patients are any higher than costs for patients who are not enrolled in trials.”
He labeled as bogus insurance industry claims that the mandate will raise premiums in Oklahoma.
“Clinical trials that are frequently paid for by drug companies and treatment facilities can actually reduce critical health care costs down the road when they prove successful,” Rice said.
Also in the Senate on Wednesday, the Tulsa World is reporting that the Appropriations Committe passed SB 1709, which would combine the Medical Examiner’s Office with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Together with SB 1689, and SB 1865, the Criminal Justice Resource Center would also be merged into the OSBI, and a new Office of Accountability and Innovation would be set up within the Legislative Service Bureau.
This whole “streamlining” process will cost the Oklahoma taxpayers about a $1,000,000 according to Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee (R-OKC).
NewsOK.com reports that opponents to the new measures have expressed concerns about accountability and integrity issues with having all of these agencies merged into one.
Both bills now go to the full OK Senate.