Sunday, April 19, 2009

Medical reformers vow fight for change in Oklahoma insurance industry

Published: April 14, 2009

A group pushing for health care reform criticized current legislation it says benefits insurers and vowed to keep fighting for change in Oklahoma’s insurance industry.

"This is essentially an unregulated industry in Oklahoma,” said Sen. Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau, who was among advocates for health care reform at a news conference Monday. "When people make payments for care, they should be able to get it.”

Corn said Senate rules requiring a financial statement for bills dealing with the insurance industry have hindered efforts to seek meaningful reform. Some ranking Republicans have publicly said they oppose mandates on insurers because they could make it harder for companies to keep insuring people. GOP leaders say they want the companies to be able to insure more people, not fewer.

Next week, Oklahomans for Healthcare Reform plans to rally at the state Capitol. Members of the group include Wayne Rohde, who has pushed for insurance coverage for autism. Rhode’s son is autistic. The group also includes Nancy Thomason, founder of the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation, who has pushed for insurance coverage for clinical trials. Thomason’s son died of brain cancer.

"Many of our bills haven’t seen the light of day,” said Jeff Raymond, OK Watchdog executive director and a member Oklahomans for Healthcare Reform. "We want to keep attention on it. We’re not going away, and we want people to share their stories.”

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