Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 22, 2012
Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law delivers final report
The Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law delivered its final
report to legislative leadership today after spending the legislative
interim studying the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act and the effect it will have on Oklahoma.
“Our committee did a lot of tough work digging into the Oklahoma-specific
implications of this law. Whether we like it or not, this flawed
federal law is going to have a very real impact on Oklahoma’s
health care system,” said Sen. Gary
Stanislawski, a Tulsa Republican and co-chairman of the committee.
“While we didn’t like everything we found, we were encouraged
that we do have options as a state to head off some of this law’s
harmful mandates so we can keep as much of our health care system
as possible under the market’s control.”
“The only true way to overturn this law is through the courts,
which Oklahoma and other states are already pursuing, and at the
ballot box, where we hope Republicans are victorious in the presidential
election in November. Since neither of those options are guarantees,
we must be proactive in the event that those outcomes don’t
materialize,” said Rep. Glen
Mulready, a Tulsa Republican and co-chairman of the committee.
“As the elected leaders of this state, we must protect Oklahoma’s
best interests rather than burying our heads in the sand. That’s
why our committee has worked diligently to find proactive, protective
ways for Oklahoma to address this law.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and House
Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, formed the Joint Committee on Federal
Health Care Law near the conclusion of the 2011 legislative session.
Beginning in September, the committee held five public meetings
and received testimony from dozens of experts from the public and
private sectors. The report includes a synopsis of information presented
at those meetings and resulting recommendations from the committee.
“We hope our report proves useful to the Legislature and that
our colleagues give these issues the careful attention our committee
did,” Mulready said.
The committee has established a clearinghouse website, www.okhealthcare.info,
for convenient public access to video and audio recorded committee
meetings as well as an electronic copy of the final committee report.
Stanislawski added: “I would like to commend my fellow committee
members for taking on a complex topic and working toward solutions
that are in Oklahoma’s best interest. We brought the public
and private sectors together to develop fact-based options for Oklahoma
to consider as we tackle this new federal law.”
The committee’s final report (attached) recommends that Oklahoma:
Continue to fight the federal health care law in court; better educate
the public about ways to improve their health; prepare for a dramatic
expansion of Medicaid eligibility due to PPACA; begin developing
a market-based state health insurance exchange in order to prevent
imposition of a federal exchange in Oklahoma; form a permanent legislative
committee to monitor issues related to the federal health care law;
and increase medical residency programs in order to address current
and future doctor shortages – particularly in rural areas.
Regarding health insurance exchanges, the report recommends Oklahoma
begin taking steps to implement a state-based, free market health
insurance exchange. The recommended exchange is similar to the one
in development by the state of Utah since before PPACA’s existence.
Utah’s exchange model was recommended to the committee by
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. The recommended Oklahoma exchange would be
housed in Insure Oklahoma, which would be spun off from the Oklahoma
Health Care Authority and turned into a public trust.
“Beginning development of our own state-based, free market
exchange is clearly the best way to stop the federal government
from barging into Oklahoma to build a highly-regulated, anti-free
market federal exchange we don’t want or need. The last thing
any state needs is a government health care takeover,” Stanislawski
Under PPACA, states must have a framework for an exchange in place
by Jan. 1, 2013 or the federal government will begin setting up
a federal exchange in the state to be operational by January 2014.
Health insurance exchanges are online marketplaces where businesses
and consumers can shop for health insurance.
“Working toward a state exchange is the most realistic step
Oklahoma can take to prevent an unwanted federal takeover in our
health care system and insurance markets,” Mulready said.
“This would be an Oklahoma exchange run by Oklahomans the
way Oklahomans want it run. It would have no federal hands on it
whatsoever. If you’re opposed to the federal health care law,
you should be for this state-based exchange because it is the most
defensive position we can take to prevent Barack Obama’s team
from coming in and imposing their own exchange upon Oklahoma. We
know Oklahomans can serve Oklahomans far better than Barack Obama.”
Final Report of the Joint Committee on
Federal Healthcare Law
For more information contact:
Sen. Gary Stanislawski
Rep. Glen Mulready