Legislative Update: Healthcare Working Group

Posted about 2 months ago

Oklahomans notably have one of the highest rates of uninsured in the nation, and the worst life expectancy in the U.S.  While there is not a single determinate cause nor one single easy answer to Oklahoman's health woes, there are some steps we can take to begin making significant improvements. ONA applauds our legislative leadership for creating a bicameral, bipartisan working group to examine healthcare access issues and to make policy recommendations for potential implementation in 2020.   

House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat announced today the formation of a bi-partisan healthcare working group to develop a solution for increasing access to healthcare and providing insurance coverage for more Oklahomans.

The healthcare working group will be similar to the medical marijuana working group that met for 13 weeks last summer to develop and implement State Question 788. “The State Question 788 working group was successful because it brought everyone together and let everyone have a voice,” said McCall, Atoka. "Healthcare is a very complex issue … It is going to take a comprehensive, multifaceted approach that considers not just what is wrong with the system but also what is working, and also what has worked and not worked in other states,” he said. “That means we need to bring everyone together – patients, providers, policy experts, insurance carriers, facilities, and state agencies – and find a way forward.”

“Health care is an important topic nationally and locally,” said President Pro Tempore Treat, Oklahoma City. “We can and must do better as a state to improve our health care outcomes.”

The appointed members of the working group are:

State Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, co-chair

State Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, co-chair

State Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford

State Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany

State Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay

State Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa

State Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee

State Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow

State Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater

State Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City

State Sen. Kim David, R-Porter

State Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud

State Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa

State Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore

State Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City

State Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow

State Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City

State Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City

Carter Kimble, Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Health

Samantha Davidson, Policy Director, Office of the Governor

The healthcare working group will begin meeting on a weekly basis in August. Thank you Greg Treat, Charles McCall,  Kim Lingo David, Jon Echols, Marcus McEntire, Jason N. Smalley and Greg McCortney for your leadership on this issue, and thanks to the committee members who have agreed to give up so much of their interim to serve in this important role!  ONA looks forward to participating in this vital discussion!