State legislative report – bill to accept federal funds passes first committee

Posted on: 2/22/19


A Senate bill to accept federal funds to cover the uninsured passed from the Senate Committee on Retirement and Insurance Monday, Feb. 18. This is the first time such a measure has been considered in a committee of the Legislature since the Affordable Care Act was enacted by Congress (2010).

Accepting federal funds: SB 605
(Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada), requires the Health Care Authority to establish the “Oklahoma Plan” within the current Insure Oklahoma program. The plan would be a premium assistance program that would provide coverage through one or more commercial health insurers to persons who meet the requirements. While many questions were posed to the bill’s author, Sen. McCortney stated to committee members “it’s a work in progress.” Sen. McCortney said the state would purchase insurance policies for people who would have been eligible for Medicaid expansion and this would put much of the burden on private insurance companies instead of the state. The OHA is working with Sen. McCortney to refine the measure.

Guns – property rights: OHA, working with a coalition of businesses, successfully amended HB 2597, the so-called “constitutional carry” bill, which passed the House last week and passed from a Senate committee this week. The amendment preserves current protections that allow private property owners to prohibit firearms from being carried onto property. The bill permits Oklahomans age 21 and older to carry a firearm without a permit. Further, the bill prohibits felons and those with domestic violence convictions or who have been adjudicated as having a mental illness from carrying a firearm.

Following is the status of other legislation of interest:

Status of bills supported by OHA that passed committee: SB 704
, provides protection for living organ donors under the Oklahoma Living Organ Donor Fairness Act by providing fairness in treatment by life insurance carriers; HB 2288, removes loopholes in the Oklahoma Clean Indoor Air Act; HB 2285, updates the duties of the Hospital Advisory Council; HB 2351, creates the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which provides a framework and process for multi-state medical licenses of physicians; SB 86, expands definitions of medical care providers related to aggravated assault and battery with a firearm beyond emergency care providers.

Status of bills supported by OHA that passed committee and passed on the floor: SB 575, modifies the statute for parental consent for the treatment of minors to allow for written consent for a telemedicine encounter, thereby removing a barrier for implementation of school-based telemedicine by requiring the parent to be present during the visit.

Status of bills supported by OHA pending committee hearing: HB 1089, Extends SHOPP sunset date for five years to Dec. 31, 2025; HB 1225, Prompt Pay, initiates a statutory change for commercial carriers to pay providers promptly for clean claims by changing the current 30 days request for additional information to 15 days after receiving a claim; and, SB 848, addresses the opioid epidemic while advocating for physicians to determine patient care in post-surgical situations in the prescribing of opioids.

Status of bills opposed by OHA pending committee hearing: HB 2417 and SB 218, Right to Shop requires health plans to establish a program in which enrollees are directly incentivized to shop before and after their out-of-pocket limit has been met, therefore encouraging health care consumers to make decisions based on a potential for monetary gain, the application of which is an incentive to out-of-network providers; SB 68, authorizes free standing emergency room licensure for facilities that do not meet federal requirements for designation as an emergency room, are not eligible for reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid, and are not affiliated with an existing licensed Oklahoma hospital system or facility; and, SB 955, creates licensure of radiologic technologists, changing the established practice of X-rays taken by an assistant or technologist working under the license and direction of a physician, to require four separate licenses and six separate permits to X-ray separate portions of the body. State licensure is simply a needless duplication and added expense and would require several different licenses, primarily for people who are already certified by other professional entities.  

Status of scope of practice bills: SB 801, changes the current requirement that a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist work under the supervision of a medical doctor, osteopathic physician or dentist to working “in collaboration with” a physician. SB 801 passed from committee last week and will go to the Senate floor for consideration; and, SB 839, allowing prescriptive authority for Certified Nurse Practitioners who have obtained a waiver of supervision from the State Board of Nursing, is pending a hearing in Senate committee.

Deadlines: Bills introduced for this legislative session must receive a hearing in the committee of the house of introduction and be voted out of committee before they go to the floor in the house of introduction for action. The committee deadline is Thursday, Feb. 28. March 14 is the deadline for bills and resolutions to be reported from the floor of the house of introduction (third reading) to the opposite house. House bills go the Senate and Senate bills go to the House for consideration.

For more information about specific legislation, please email Shelly Bush, education & government relations assistant, bush@okoha.com. (Lynne White)

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