Archive for the ‘Rep. Ron Peterson’ Category

Last Week of the Session?

May 20, 2008

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!

Peterson Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot…..Again

May 14, 2008

Fresh on the heels of speculation that a powerhouse patient advocacy organization is being planned, State Rep. Ron Peterson is jumping right back into dangerous water with advocates for autistic children.

Rep. Peterson’s tone deaf handling of the situation regarding mandated insurance coverage for autism treatments was just the kind of red meat the liberal press corps thoroughly enjoys. On Tuesday, Peterson issued a press release that suggests studies by autism advocates cannot be trusted. That may be true, but as Charlie Brown says, “Good Grief.”

Several pundits have weighed in on behalf of Rep. Peterson’s reasons for slowing down this legislation, and we at OKPNS agree. But Sen. Gumm is thrashing Rep. Peterson with the public and the press, and ill-conceived press releases just make matters worse. The message may be legitimate, but the messenger’s errors are obscuring that message.

Beginning with last year’s ethics problems, Republicans have shown indifference to good communication skills and strategies. This indifference has cost them dearly.

The capitol press corps dislikes conservatives, and the weak get eaten. Like wildebeests crossing the river, the crocs have eaten their share this past year, but the R’s just keep on inviting the crocs to take a bite. Peterson just waded in the deep end again.

When will they ever learn?

The "Witching Hour" Approaches the Legislature

May 14, 2008

It’s the “witching hour,” the time in the legislative session when bills emerge from conference committees filled with “wooley boogers” and pork.

While there is some limited public scrutiny of what goes on in the legislature prior to mid-May thanks to the lazy and liberal capitol press corps, all bets are off as we move into the last few days. That’s when legislators cut their backroom deals, hide outrageous amendments and issue misleading press releases, all designed to fool the public (hard) and the press (not so hard).

Among bills ripe for exploitation are the bills such as the one the insurance industry and their lapdog insurance commissioner Kim Holland are using to try and rip off senior citizens and charities, SB 1980. Others include the endowed chairs backlog, not yet in a bill but could emerge at any time to hurt medical research efforts. Senate liberals will be searching for openings to get their phony official English bill out of the way so as to remove that issue before the Fall campaign.

The list goes on and on.

We invite OKPNS readers to share their knowledge: if you get wind of phony, deceptive legislation that is about to emerge, send in your information to the OKPNS tip line. We’ll follow up and try to shine the light truth on the last minute shady deals we get every May.

SCREW Update: Embattled Peterson’s Bill Still Reeks of Scam

May 5, 2008
“Grabbin’ the Ankles”

Capitol observers are reporting some positive modifications in the effort to defeat the SCREW-ing Old People and Charities Act.

The bill, which is headed for conference, was ostensibly an effort by Big Insurance to eliminate so-called Stranger Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) scams, but was actually a back-door way to eliminate ‘life settlements,” an investing tool that gives Oklahoma Seniors and charitable institutions options for estate planning purposes. Big Insurance wants to eliminate ‘life settlements’ in order to pad their obscene profit margins. The bill, authored in the House of Representative by embattled insurance committee chair Ron Peterson, was on a rocket sled to the governor until the OKPNS story and some subsequent stories by other Oklahoma media pulled the covers off the scam. While Big Insurance has lost the element of surprise, many of the onerous items in the bill remain.

Sources say that the Senate, under pressure to fix some of the more outrageous aspects of the SCREW job, have agreed to fix some of the provisions that dictated just how much senior citizens had to receive for their policies lest they face felony charges.

One item that insiders say must be fixed is the power Oklahoma’s incompetent Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland has over such policies. Right now Holland, a toady for Big Insurance, has far too much discretion over the types of companies who would buy life settlements, and could be a backdoor way to stop the life settlement business even if the bad provisions are removed through legislative action. “Holland, who is every bit as big a tool for Big Insurance as Peterson, but far less knowledgeable, could harass and badger companies who want to do life settlement business in Oklahoma, providing yet another way for Big Insurance to prevail, so nothing is fixed just yet,” one observer says.

S.C.R.E.W. (Selfish Companies Reaping Excessive Windfalls) Figure Nailed in AP Story

May 5, 2008

A House member implicated by the Oklahoma Political News Service in the SCREW-ing Old People and Charities Act, also known as SB 1980, has been slammed in a story by the Associated Press.

“They can say I’m the devil and I’ve been bought off. It’s absolutely not true.”

OKPNS first told you in April that Rep. Ron Peterson was carrying water for the American Council for Life Insurance (ACLI), who wanted to slip the bill past the public before anybody noticed. After the OKPNS story, the bill slowed down somewhat, but it appears more people are indeed noticing. Here’s the AP’s take on what OKPNS told you last month. Try to keep from laughing too hard when Peterson, the insurance industry’s flunky, denies that he is the insurance industry’s flunky!

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A state lawmaker who has blocked legislation that would require health insurers to cover a variety of medical procedures and conditions has accepted thousands of dollars in donations from individuals or political action committees with ties to the insurance industry, records show.

Rep. Ron Peterson, chairman of the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee, has received a total of $64,600 in election campaign contributions since Jan. 1, 2007, according to records filed with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. Of the total, $20,075 came from people or PACs with ties to the insurance industry.

Peterson, R-Broken Arrow, is the former owner of a property and casualty insurance agency and his wife is a part-time independent insurance agent. Peterson said the campaign contributions and his close ties to the industry have not influenced his position on insurance mandate legislation.

“They can say I’m the devil and I’ve been bought off. It’s absolutely not true,” Peterson said. Peterson said he opposes insurance mandates and believes they drive up the cost of health insurance, making it unaffordable for many Oklahomans. Read more…

SCREW-ing Old People and Charities Act Advances

April 23, 2008

Oklahoman Editorial: Turning treasures into trash

Originally Posted 4/22/08

As rank-and-file Republicans look on in amazement, yet another corporate welfare scheme is advancing through the Oklahoma House of Representatives, once again being pushed by the Republican leadership.

Despite some negative media attention last week, Big SCREW (Selfish Companies Reaping Excessive Windfalls) remains on general order this week in the house. State Rep. Ron Peterson, already in hot water with the public over his awkward handling of an autism-related insurance matter, is pushing hard for SB 1980, a Trojan horse bill that purports to eliminate so-called Stranger Originated Life Insurance (STOLI) scams, but according to knowledgeable observers is actually a back-door way to eliminate ‘life settlements,” an investing tool that gives Oklahoma Seniors and charitable institutions options for estate planning purposes.

Ironically, the STOLI bill, which purports to stop one type of scam, is a swindle itself. “There is no STOLI problem in Oklahoma,” another insider tells OKPNS. “Over 60% of life insurance policies lapse, so this is just a way to keep from paying claims. It will hurt senior citizens and Oklahoma charities, and the backers of this fraud should be ashamed, VERY ashamed. If they want to stop STOLI, a short amendment would suffice. It wouldn’t take a massive esoteric bill to end STOLI, but let’s be real: stopping STOLI is not what this is all about,” she says. Regular OKPNS readers will recognize the gang that is advancing the Big SCREW. The primary proponent is the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI) in Washington, headed by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating. Keating, also a member of the Chesapeake Energy Board of Directors, has hired the Fried lobbying bunch to pull the wool over legislators’ eyes. Also lobbying hard for the bill is the insurance industry’s toady, insurance commissioner Kim Holland, and the Senate author Sean Burrage.

Under the pretext of ending STOLI, the 88-page bill includes cynical clauses, including on that mandates that life insurance policy holders cannot receive less than 50% of the face value of the policy, which effectively kills the practice. Life settlements enable financially-strapped seniors to realize some yield from their investments if they are sick or in need of some financial assistance. Further, seniors who violate that aspect of the bill will be guilty of a FELONY, an excessive and immoral element. The bill is especially ironic when considering that Ronald Reagan is believed to have sold some policies in his last years.

Under SB 1980, “Big Insurance” wins, and Oklahoma seniors and charities lose. This bill will seriously and dramatically affect those citizens who buy life insurance policies for estate planning purposes and negatively affect the net worth of Oklahoma seniors. It is a scandalous bill rooted in the desire of Big Insurance to take every last nickel from their policy holders, regardless of morals and fairness. This bill would have jailed Ronald Reagan, and at some point people will find out what has happened, and for legislators who support this abomination, it could be THE campaign issue of the year.