House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat announced the formation of a bi-partisan healthcare working group today to develop an Oklahoma solution for increasing access to healthcare and providing insurance coverage for more citizens.
The Healthcare Working Group will be similar to the medical marijuana working group that met for 13 weeks last summer to develop a way to implement the provisions of State Question 788 into law. Speaker McCall believes the working group model is the best way to bring stakeholders and interested citizens together to craft a solution that works for all Oklahomans.
“The State Question 788 working group was successful because it brought everyone together and let everyone have a voice,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “We also had the advantage of knowing what worked well in other states and what had not, which helped us craft a final product in a way that tried to meet the unique needs of not only the supporters but also those who had concerns with the state question. Healthcare is a very complex issue, and there is no cookie-cutter approach that is going to drive down costs, improve care and increase access. It is going to take a comprehensive, multifaceted approach that considers not just what is wrong with the system but also what is working, and also what has worked and not worked in other states. That means we need to bring everyone together – patients, providers, policy experts, insurance carriers, facilities and state agencies – and find a way forward. That discussion must include everything, not just Medicaid expansion, and it will need to continue until we have a solution that works for our citizens unique needs.”
“Health care is an important topic nationally and locally,” said President Pro Tempore Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “We can and must do better as a state to improve our health care outcomes. Like we did previously with the House and Senate committee on medical marijuana, I’m confident this group will take a serious look at the issue and give useful recommendations for the Legislature to consider as we work to improve Oklahomans’ access to quality, affordable health care.”
Speaker McCall and President Pro Tempore Treat said Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointees will be valuable additions to the working group.
“I appreciate the strong relationship between the Legislature and the executive branch to achieve a healthcare plan that strengthens the delivery of state services and improves health outcomes in our state,” said Gov. Stitt. “This partnership in the Capitol is vital to ensure we are taking into consideration all 4 million Oklahomans as we work to deliver a Top Ten state.”
The appointed members of the working group are as follows:
State Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, co-chair
State Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, co-chair
State Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford
State Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany
State Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
State Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa
State Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee
State Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow
State Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater
State Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City
State Sen. Kim David, R-Porter
State Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud
State Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa
State Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore
State Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City
State Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow
State Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City
State Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City
Carter Kimble, Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Health
Samantha Davidson, Policy Director, Office of the Governor
The Healthcare Working Group will likely begin meeting on a weekly basis in August.