OK Senate: Progressive Measures Toward Socialized Medicine

Brain Tumor Buzz, reports that yesterday a Senate committee passed legislation that would require insurance companies to pay for experimental treatments:

Sen. Andrew Rice, the bill’s author, said it was a matter of fairness. He said Medicaid and Medicare patients can go through clinical trials and still have their routine care compensated.

The bill is called Steffanie’s Law, and according to the Oklahoman:

The legislation is named for Steffanie Collings, a Noble teenager who has been battling a brain tumor.

Monty Collings, her father, said the bill will not help Steffanie or the family, which has amassed more than $400,000 in medical bills that their insurance provider will not cover.

“The sole reason I’m putting so much effort in this is so other families won’t be put through this,” Collings said.

He said his daughter, who will be 19 next month, is in the final stages of her illness. She’s been undergoing care using a new treatment that is part of a clinical trial.

The Hays Daily News quoted Sen. Rice:

“Families in Oklahoma should not have to decide between potential lifesaving treatments and personal financial ruin,” Rice said after Thursday’s vote. “There is little evidence that routine health care costs for clinical trial patients are any higher than costs for patients who are not enrolled in trials.”

He labeled as bogus insurance industry claims that the mandate will raise premiums in Oklahoma.

“Clinical trials that are frequently paid for by drug companies and treatment facilities can actually reduce critical health care costs down the road when they prove successful,” Rice said.

Also in the Senate on Wednesday, the Tulsa World is reporting that the Appropriations Committe passed SB 1709, which would combine the Medical Examiner’s Office with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Together with SB 1689, and SB 1865, the Criminal Justice Resource Center would also be merged into the OSBI, and a new Office of Accountability and Innovation would be set up within the Legislative Service Bureau.

This whole “streamlining” process will cost the Oklahoma taxpayers about a $1,000,000 according to Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee (R-OKC).

NewsOK.com reports that opponents to the new measures have expressed concerns about accountability and integrity issues with having all of these agencies merged into one.

Both bills now go to the full OK Senate.

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