Thursday, April 30, 2009

Governor Opposes Effort to Rein in Insurance Increases

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 30, 2009) – Gov. Brad Henry has vetoed legislation that could prevent sudden, arbitrary increases in health insurance rates.

“By opposing this sensible reform, the governor has left the door open for future Legislatures to arbitrarily drive up insurance prices for Oklahomans,” said state Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia.

“This bill would have simply required the Legislature to carefully consider any changes to state law that could increase insurance prices. Evidently, the governor would prefer to shoot from the hip and act without a prudent and wise screening process allowing us to know of any potential collateral damage our actions may have on our constituents.”

House Bill 1975, by Moore, would give lawmakers more financial information about health care mandates before they vote on them.

The bill would have required any legislation affecting health insurance mandates to be introduced in odd-numbered years, giving lawmakers a year to study the issue before voting on it in even-numbered years.

“This legislation would have guaranteed a high level of scrutiny on mandate legislation so lawmakers know the actual costs before casting a vote,” said House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. “Given how many families already struggle to afford health insurance, it makes sense to carefully consider proposed changes to state law that could drive up prices and increase the number of uninsured Oklahomans.”

Three years ago, a similar law was enacted to put in place the same scrutiny for bills with a negative fiscal impact pertaining to the state’s retirement systems, and that bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate.
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