Gov. Henry vetoes GOP’s health insurance proposal

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Gov. Brad Henry continued a series of vetoes that seemed to accelerate over the last month, turning thumbs down on a measure Republicans said has could prevent arbitrary health insurance rate hikes.

State Rep. Lewis Moore of Arcadia said,“By opposing this sensible reform, the governor has left the door open for future Legislatures to arbitrarily drive up insurance prices for Oklahomans. This bill would have simply required the Legislature to carefully consider any changes to state law that could increase insurance prices. Evidently, the governor would prefer to shoot from the hip and act without a prudent and wise screening process allowing us to know of any potential collateral damage our actions may have on our constituents.”

Moore’s H.B. 1975 would give lawmakers financial information about health care mandates before the Legislature votes on them. In the words of a statement sent to The City Sentinel by advocates, the bill “would have required any legislation affecting health insurance mandates to be introduced in odd-numbered years, giving lawmakers a year to study the issue before voting on it in even-numbered years.”

Defending the veto was Democratic Floor Leader Mike Brown of Tahlequah, who said the veto was “an important part of telling the insurance industry that Oklahoma’s elected officials won’t change the rules to serve the highest bidder.”

In his statement sent to The City Sentinel, Brown said, “Mandates save money in the long run – not to mention saving lives.” Brown said he was “proud of Gov. Henry for vetoing this discriminatory legislation that would have made the Oklahoma Legislature a puppet for the insurance industry.”