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Oklahoma State Senate

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For Immediate Release: April 17, 2008

Sen. Andrew Rice
Sen. Andrew Rice

Senate Passes Rice's 'Steffanie's Law' Amendment

Saying there is more than one way to achieve fairness for Oklahoma cancer patients, State Senator Andrew Rice, D-OKC, successfully amended a House insurance bill in the State Senate today with language from his bill known as "Steffanie's Law".

Rice, who co-authored the original legislation named for Steffanie Collings, a young woman from Noble who passed away last month, added key provisions of "Steffanie's Law" to HB 3115 when it came to a vote in the Senate. The amended bill passed the Senate by a margin of 26-21.

"This legislation is important to many Oklahomans and I am hopeful that the provisions of 'Steffanie's Law' will now get a fair hearing in the House of Representatives," Rice said.

Rice and other advocates for Steffanie's Law, which would force all insurance companies in Oklahoma to continue covering routine medical costs for cancer patients who enter clinical trials, rallied last week on the steps of the State Capitol to encourage Republican House leaders to allow a vote on the bill.

"I have fought for this bill so that Oklahomans can expect fairness from their insurance companies," Rice said today. "When physicians decide that a patient's best course of treatment is a clinical trial, an insurance company should not deny regular coverage. The Collings family played by the rules and paid their insurance premiums on time only to have the company abandon them."

After the original legislation passed the Senate with a bipartisan 31-13 vote, the leader of a House committee refused to hear the bill last week, ending the chances for "Steffanie's Law" to continue through the normal legislative process.

Rice pointed out that 24 states have laws similar to "Steffanie's Law" and several Oklahoma insurance companies' policies already comply with these provisions.

"Because Steffanie's insurance company denied her routine medical coverage after she enrolled in a clinical trial, her family now owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in past medical bills. That is not right. I am confident that we have strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives if the leadership will just allow a vote," Rice said.

For more information contact:
Senator Rice's Office:  (405) 521-5610

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