Last Week of the Session?

It looks like insurance mandates and ‘insurance companies behaving badly’ issues will remain on the front burner in what could be the last week of the legislative session.

Already this session we exposed a plan by greedy life insurance companies to screw old people and charities out of the freedom to sell their life policies in arrangements called “life settlements.” After further media exposure, the life companies and their lobbyist Frank Keating were forced to remove many of the more outrageous aspects of the bill, such as turning senior citizens into felons if they did not receive 50% of the face value of the policy. A ‘trailer’ bill is in the works that would remove the last outrageous aspect: Kim Holland, the toady insurance commissioner owned by Keating’s association. Current statutes would allow Holland to harass companies that buy the policies from seniors to such an extent that few would want to do business in Oklahoma. Even Democrats know the commissioner needs to be put into a position where she can do no harm as they regard her as “intellectually-challenged” on most insurance issues, so a trailer bill stands a good chance at passing.

We’ll keep watching this one.

And the Oklahoman is attempting a last minute feeble effort to rescue Rep. Ron Peterson as his clumsy handling of the insurance mandates for autism treatments keeps the issue alive for yet another week. Peterson also was an advocate of the shameful anti-senior life settlement bill. Yesterday, the increasingly irrelevant paper slams Sen. J. Paul Gumm, who is for the mandates but has outflanked and out-maneuvered Peterson from the beginning. As Jim Bowie is aid to have told Col. Travis at the Alamo, “It’s not what you say Travis that bothers me, it’s how you say it.”

Communicating public issues as often more important than the issue itself, something Peterson and the paper need to improve: did you catch the strange reference to global warming? Regardless, insurance issues appear to be ready to explode into the news yet again this week, meaning the press corps will screw it up, so we’ll be cleaning up that mess. Stay tuned!

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