Posts Tagged - ‘oklahoma health insurance’

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Oklahoma Passes Ban On Health Insurance Plan Mandate

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Image: KB35 under CC 3.0

The big story involving last week’s elections is the resurgence of Republicans; they took over the House, and made up lost ground in the Senate. That will surely impact several policy priorities, including healthcare reform repeal.

Voters in Oklahoma also spoke out by passing an amendment to their state constitution that prohibits the federal government from forcing residents to purchase a health insurance plan, in response to the unpopular mandate provision.

Two thirds of voters in the state sent a message that the Obama administration should not become involved in Oklahoma health insurance matters. However, the amendment will probably have little actual impact on the federal government’s actions.

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No Fee on Health Insurance Plans to Pay For Okla. Medicaid

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
health insurance plans
Image: KB35 under CC 3.0

Recently, the Oklahoma state legislature attempted to implement a one percent fee on the sale of health insurance plans. The proceeds were supposed to help pay for the state’s Medicare program.

However, the state’s Supreme Court just ruled that such a fee is unconstitutional, agreeing with Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland’s objections. Six out of nine justices decided that since the law was passed during the final week of the legislative session with less than three quarters of the legislature in favor, it could not stand.

The fee was to be charged to employers that offer health insurance coverage to their employees. It was supposed to raise $78 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1st.

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Oklahoma Gov. Vetoes Health Insurance Exchange Abortion Ban

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Image: adamr.stone under CC 3.0

In Oklahoma, conservative legislators have tried to prevent plans in the upcoming health insurance exchanges (set to launch in 2014) from offering abortion coverage in any of their plans in all but the strictest circumstances (to protect the life of the mother, rape, or incest). Several other states have done the same thing in the advent of healthcare reform, but the Oklahoma bill goes further by attempting to ban coverage in any policy sold in the state, whether or not it is part of the subsidized exchanges.

Democratic Governor Brad Henry vetoed the bill. Although abortion coverage would continue to be available through supplemental health insurance plans, that has little practical use–very few people plan in advance that they will terminate a pregnancy.

According to Henry, the bill becoming law would create an expensive legal headache for the state, as well as unfairly penalizing women who fail to report a crime in time. However, the national healthcare reform law allows states to create their own additional regulations on the exchange markets, so removing abortion services from Oklahoma health insurance options would probably be legal.

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