Okla. Insurance Mandate Reform Gets Committee Approval

February 11, 2008

Okla. lawmakers have voted to put the brakes on potentially expensive mandates in an effort to reduce the price of health insurance, according to an announcement from the House of Representatives.

House Bill 3111, by state Rep. Ron Peterson, would require both a cost-benefit analysis and a one-year wait before any insurance mandate proposal can receive a vote in the Oklahoma Legislature.

The bill received the approval of the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee.

“There have been many insurance mandates enacted in recent years and they have contributed to the rapid rise in the cost of health care,” said Peterson, R-Broken Arrow. “House Bill 3111 requires the Legislature to take a more informed and less emotional look at these mandates in the future.”

Under the bill’s provisions, insurance mandates could only be filed during odd-numbered years and would only receive a vote from lawmakers in even-numbered years. During the first year after filing, legislative staff would perform a thorough actuarial analysis on each proposed mandate to determine its potential impact on the cost of health care.

Peterson noted the bill mirrors similar successful reforms recently enacted for the state’s pension systems.

“We need to determine the true cost of these mandates before we pass them,” Peterson said. “Given the extreme costs that already exist in the health care system, it’s just common sense to ensure we aren’t making a tough situation worse for those Oklahomans who struggle to buy health insurance. A well-meaning mandate won’t help people if it prices them out of the insurance market.”

An estimate 700,000 people in Oklahoma are uninsured today.

Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives

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