Health care compact heads to Governor Fallin

The Oklahoma state Senate passed Oklahoma’s health care compact. Oklahoma became the fourth state to pass such a proposal. It authorizes an accord among participating states and, according to a leading national advocate, would allow Oklahoma to create its own health care policies. Supporters contend the compact could trump prior federal law.

Senate Bill 722, co-sponsored by Sen. Jolley and state Rep. Glen Mulready of Tulsa first advanced from the Senate  on March 15, in a 33-11 vote. This approval came on a much closer 25-20 roll call.

Rep. Mulready had amended the proposal on the House side, where it gained comfortable 66-28 approval in late April.

Eric O’Keefe, chairman of the Health Care Compact Alliance, celebrated the passage in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK.

“The Health Care Compact moves responsibility for health care from Washington, D.C. to Oklahoma, where we expect a robust conversation among citizens and their local representatives to unfold and result in reforms that meet the needs of all of the residents of Oklahoma,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe contended, “Our health care system is too large and too complex to manage at the federal level  — and too important to be debated outside the earshot of citizens. That is why today’s passage in Montana will enable citizens to engage in the policy process at their state level, and to prescribe laws that match the needs of their communities.”

O’Keefe’s non-partisan alliance describes itself as “dedicated to providing Americans more influence over decisions that govern their health care.”

The alliance reports, “Interstate compacts have been used throughout U.S. history to allow states to coordinate in important policy areas. Authority for compacts was established in the Constitution (Article I, Section 10), and more than 200 such agreements are currently in effect. They are voluntary agreements between states that, when consented to by congress, have the force of federal law.”

Twenty-five Republicans supported the health compact, including Jolley and Senators Mark Allen of Spiro, Don Barrington of Lawton, President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa, Cliff Branan of Oklahoma City, Josh Brecheen of Coalgate, Rick Brinkley of Owasso, Bill Brown of Broken Arrow, Harry Coates of Seminole, Brian Crain of Tulsa, Kim David of Porter, Eddie Fields of Wynona, John Ford of Bartlesville, James Halligan of Stillwater, David Holt of Oklahoma City, Rob Johnson of Kingfisher, Ron Justice of Chickasha, Bryce Marlatt of Woodward, David Myers of Ponca City, Dan Newberry of Sand Springs, Jonathan Nichols of Norman, Mike Schulz of Altus, Frank Simpson of Ardmore, Gary Stanislawski of Tulsa, and Greg Treat of Oklahoma City.

Six Republicans broke against the measure, including Patrick Anderson of Enid, Mike Mazzei of Tulsa, Jim Reynolds of Oklahoma City, Steve Russell of Oklahoma City, Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City and Anthony Sykes of Moore.

They joined 14 Democrats who opposed S.B. 722, including Tom Adelson of Tulsa, Roger Ballenger of Okmulgee, Randy Bass of Lawton, Sean Burrage of Claremore, Judy Eason-McIntyre of Tulsa, Jerry Elllis of Valliant, Earl Garrison of Muskogee, Tom Ivester of Elk City, Connie Johnson of Oklahoma City, Richard Lerblance of Hartshorne, Susan Paddack of Ada, Minority Leader Andrew Rice of Oklahoma City, John Sparks of Norman and Jim Wilson of Tahlequah.

Not voting today were Sen. Cliff Aldridge of Midwest City, a Republican, and Democratic Sens. Charlie Laster of Shawnee and Charles Wyrick of Fairland.