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State Senate Passes Health Protection Bill
State Senate Passes Health Protection Bill|NewsChannel 8
posted 03/23/10 4:24 pm producer: Phil Price
Oklahoma City - In light of the Congressional passage of legislation overhauling the nation’s highly successful health care system, state lawmakers voted today to allow Oklahoma voters to opt-out of the federalized system.
“In order to fix a few problems with one of the best health care systems in the world, Congressional Democrats are essentially wrecking a car that needs a tune-up,” state Rep. Mike Ritze said. “Oklahomans are happy with the current system and want no part of the new one. This legislation will help them send that message to the federal government.”
House Joint Resolution 1054, by Ritze (R-Oklahoma City), state Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso) and state Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City), would allow the voters to change the Oklahoma Constitution to include a “Freedom of Healthcare Choice Act.”
Under the proposed amendment, no law or rule could compel any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system. It would also prevent Oklahomans from being financially penalized if they choose not to purchase insurance mandated by the federal health care plan, and doctors would still be allowed to accept direct payment for services without fear of financial penalty.
“When voters approve this amendment, the Oklahoma Constitution will tell the federal government that they would like to pursue their own course when it comes to health care,” Ritze said. “Though a national majority opposes the health care overhaul, here in Oklahoma opposition is even greater and there is no reason we can’t do things our way.”
With the Senate passage of the legislation, language will be placed on the ballot to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to declare what types of health care systems could lawfully exist in the state. The amendment could go before the voters as early as July 27.
“The federal system represents a radical change towards socialized medicine and could easily hurt rural Oklahoma’s access to quality care,” Ritze said. “That’s why we are going to do our best to fight it.”
House Joint Resolution 1054 passed by a vote of 36-11 with strong bipartisan support.