Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: October 14, 2009
Sen. Jim Wilson
Sen. Wilson Says Lagging Budget Numbers
Could Be Fixed by
Reforming Broken Insurance Industry
With the latest revenue report showing no sign of improvement,
Wilson hopes Republicans will be more open to addressing the
escalating expense of the convoluted health care system. Wilson,
D-Tahlequah, said this would relieve a big strain on state agency
budgets and prevent future cuts from affecting critical state services.
“If we continue to cut 5 percent across the board from the
general revenue contribution to the budget, we can save $255 million.
We can then take $223 million from the rainy day fund to help cover
the shortfall. But even those two actions alone won’t be enough
to address the deficit – a deficit that could exceed $700
million,” Wilson said, noting the budget picture could be
even worse in 2011.
Wilson said a far better solution would be to address the skyrocketing
cost to the state of health insurance. The lawmaker said state agencies
are facing a six percent increase in health premiums for their employees
as well as similar increases for health care services they administer.
“Legislative leaders have repeatedly said enacting tort reform
would keep health care costs down, yet after passing tort reform
we are still seeing an increase in premiums. As much as we would
all like to think competitive markets will work to control health
spending, it appears to be naïve to think so. That tells me
there is a critical need for more to do be done to fix the problem,”
Wilson said as a result of the current situation, Oklahoma was being
forced to reduce funding for vital services, including education,
while the health insurance industry continues to reap greater rewards.
“Before we are faced with de facto tax increases in the form
of tuition and fees for the purpose of spending more money on escalating
health care costs, perhaps we should understand if we are being
misled as we were with the tort argument,” Wilson said. “The
State of Oklahoma can and should contain its health care costs for
the purpose of balancing the budget.”
For more information contact:
Senator Wilson: 405-521-5574