The Pryor Times

State News

November 21, 2012

Legislators applaud governor’s decision

— State Reps. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, and Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City,  praised Gov. Mary Fallin’s announcement that Oklahoma would reject the expansion of the state Medicaid program as provided for in the federal healthcare reform law and would not begin implementation of an insurance exchange as required under the law.

“I was very concerned that Gov. Fallin might be swayed by the false assertion that we would be delegating the federal government more power if we didn’t set up the exchange ourselves,” said Ritze. “As she rightly stated in her announcement, this could not be farther from the truth.”

Ritze continued, “I am proud to see her and Speaker-Elect T.W. Shannon reverse their support for the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchange so that we can present a unified front against the federal health care law, which so many Oklahomans rightly reject.”

“We are already suffering under runaway health care costs,” said Reynolds. “If we were to go along with this Medicaid expansion, we would quickly see things get worse. Our federal government is already wrecking the nation’s fiscal health. We’re just choosing to not to tie the state’s needs to this sinking ship.

”Ritze and Reynolds both strongly debated against House Bill 2130, legislation supported by Gov. Fallin and Speaker-Elect Shannon, which would have established the health information exchange and only passed by one vote in the Oklahoma House of Representatives before the Senate refused to hear the bill, effectively killing it.

“The exchanges are the cornerstone of Obamacare and will tie into another “exchange,” namely the health information exchange, where people’s private information and health records will be shared among healthcare providers and insurers,” said Ritze. “Expanding Medicaid coverage to more people will break the bank.  The bottom line is that we simply cannot afford it.”

Ritze believes the “common sense” approach to Obamacare is nullification, which he said 12 other states have proposed or passed into law. Ritze said nullification would block any implementation of Obamacare. He hopes to include the nullification option in a bill that he will introduce during the upcoming legislative session.

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