The Oklahoma Insurance Department has formally notified federal officials that it is returning nearly $1 million in federal funds targeted for health insurance rate reviews, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak announced.
Doak has also urged Gov. Mary Fallin to sign legislation that would reaffirm Oklahoma’s control over health care issues.
The $1 million grant, which was received in August 2010, provided funding for the insurance department to conduct health insurance premium rate reviews to identify what the federal legislation said were “…unreasonable and unjustified and/or excessive rate increases.”
Nearly $20,000 of the $1 million grant was obligated by the previous administration. The department will return $980,018.98 to federal officials.
In a May 2 letter to the U.S. Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Doak wrote, “We are most able to address the health insurance needs of our citizens by using our own state resources. We will continue to conduct health insurance premium rate reviews via the use of state and private funds.”
Doak called on Gov. Fallin to sign SB 722, which he said would give Oklahomans greater influence in health care decisions. Key provisions of the bill, by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, asserts the authority of states to control the regulation of health care and creates a health care compact for the states.
Doak, who first endorsed the bill in March, said, “This legislation reaffirms that it is the states, not the federal government, which should be responsible for regulating health care within their borders.”
Doak said the bill “would permit each member state to suspend federal laws, rules, regulations and orders when the federal government oversteps its bounds in a way that is inconsistent with the laws and regulations adopted by the states participating in the compact.”
Gov. Fallin has until May 18 to act on the measure.
Source: Oklahoma Department of Insurance