Oklahoma Plan/Insure Oklahoma
The Chamber supports efforts by Oklahoma’s leaders to develop a state-based plan to extend health insurance coverage to up to 200,000 of Oklahoma’s uninsured residents provided the state can: 1) accurately project the future cost of such a plan; and, 2) identify a funding source to pay for this coverage. To ensure the success of this state-based plan, pursuit of all available funds should be considered to reduce the costs of uncompensated care that are currently shifted onto health care providers, employers and individuals.
Additionally, the Chamber supports the State of Oklahoma’s efforts to preserve Insure Oklahoma through securing a multi-year waiver from the federal government. The Chamber further supports broadening Insure Oklahoma to provide health insurance to more of the state’s uninsured.
Research and Development
The Chamber will support efforts to foster an environment that is conducive to further research and will oppose efforts to unreasonably restrict the continued development of the state’s bioscience and research programs.
The Chamber opposes new health insurance mandates and liability that will undermine an employer’s ability to provide quality health insurance at reasonable cost to employees.
The Chamber further opposes new mandates being placed on physicians, hospitals, and providers that will increase the cost of providing quality health care in Oklahoma.
Physician Shortage/Rural Access
The Chamber supports providing incentives to recruit and retain Primary Care Physicians and Allied Health Professionals in Oklahoma, especially in rural and underserved areas, through expansion of residency programs in the state’s medical schools, scholarships, loan forgiveness and other incentives. The Chamber further supports efforts to identify new funding streams dedicated to this initiative.
The Chamber also supports the expansion of Telemedicine as a means of addressing the physician shortage and issue of limited health care access in rural Oklahoma.
Any Willing Provider
The Chamber opposes “any willing provider” legislation which would eliminate the incentive for medical providers to contract with managed care networks and, as a result, potentially frustrate efforts at cost and quality control and ultimately deny consumers the benefits of cost-reducing arrangements with providers.
Wellness/Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan
The Chamber supports state wellness and disease prevention programs which serve to improve the physical and mental health of Oklahoma citizens such as development of a new 5-year Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan supported through the State Department of Health; tobacco prevention programs; studies of the potential health effects of e-cigarettes; public outreach initiatives, as well as workplace and school-based wellness, health education, and healthy eating programs.
Smokers as Protected Class
The Chamber supports legislation to remove smokers as a protected class from applicable employment laws.
Prevention of Disease
The Chamber recognizes the detrimental impact that chronic and communicable disease has on quality of life for Oklahoma’s citizens, and the severe economic costs it imposes on health care providers and employers. Therefore, the Chamber will support efforts by the state’s elected officials and medical and research communities to develop avenues to successfully prevent and combat chronic and communicable disease.
Penalties for Sale of Over-the-Counter Drugs
The Chamber will oppose measures that would limit access to the sale of legal over-the-counter products.
Prescription Drug Abuse
The Chamber acknowledges prescription drug abuse is a crisis facing Oklahoma and supports collaborative efforts by stakeholders to address this issue that negatively impacts quality of life, health care costs and employers.
The Chamber supports legislation that would provide municipalities with local control over local issues such as tobacco use and smoking provided existing businesses are exempt or otherwise protected.
For more information, please contact a member of our Government Relations staff.