Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rep Mike Brown's press statement

State of Oklahoma
House of Representatives


May 23, 2008

Representative Mike Brown
State Capitol Building Rm. 539B
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 23rd, 2008) A state legislator released a statement regarding Senate Concurrent Resolution 83 and the refusal by House Leadership to hear “Nick’s Law.”

“It is very hypocritical of the Legislature to commission another study about healthcare and not pass important healthcare legislation that could potentially change the lives of hundreds of Oklahomans,” said Representative Mike Brown, D- Tahlequah. “We do a lot of talking in the Legislature. It is time to back up that talk with some action that will help those that we serve.”

SCR 83, by Representative Ron Peterson, R- Broken Arrow, creates a task force and advisory committee to study healthcare reforms. This comes after weeks of House Republicans refusing to hear important healthcare legislation, such as “Nick’s Law”, which requires insurance companies to cover costs associated with autism.
Enough legislators promised to vote for this measure “if it makes it to the floor.” This has been the response all session long, only to be denied these last days that opportunity by the same who promised.

This last ditch effort to save face by trotting out a resolution declaring we should “talk more” about doing something is duplicitous. The parents and grandparents, along with others who have fought this fight all session, can plainly see through all of the lip service they have received.

The very purpose of the task force is to make recommendations relating to the problem of those without health insurance and “to define the role of the federal and state government, the private sector and the not for profit sector in reducing the number of Oklahomans without health insurance”.

The very people this resolution affects are not represented on this study. The study is stacked with hospitals, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and political think tanks. There is no representation from any consumer or advocate group. Labor has become the bridge and the advocate for the underrepresented, underinsured, and uninsured which includes parents, retiree’s, children, teachers and state employees.

“Since we can’t pass imperative healthcare reforms this Session or allow the voice of the people to speak, what chance do these children’s voices have of being heard from such a stacked deck?” asked Brown.

The Legislature worked until midnight Thursday night and still refused a few precious minutes of that time to hear a reform that will help Oklahoma's children. Friday, the last day for bills to be heard another 30 minutes break was taken so legislators could review new items added to the calendar and the last day's deadline extended until midnight.

The House can take up ‘Nick’s Law’ today. Now is not the time to waste taxpayer dollars by stalling, standing around and requesting yet another study group. The people of Oklahoma deserve more than this.”

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