McAffrey co-authors health insurance measure

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 27-Feb-2010

State Rep. Al McAffrey expressed disappointment when his bill to require the state government’s health insurance provider to provide coverage of bariatric surgery didn’t get a committee hearing. However, he said he will support a Republican-authored bill that will achieve his goal.

“My intent was to ensure that state employees would not be denied coverage if they need bariatric surgery. Rep. Derby’s bill accomplishes this and also requires all private insurance companies writing health insurance in Oklahoma to provide such coverage”, said McAffrey, an Oklahoma City Democrat. Derby is a Republican from Owasso.

Derby’s bill, HB3238, redefines for insurance purposes the term “medically necessary” as “any procedure ordered by a physician, including, but not limited to, bariatric surgery.”

It also allows the use of funds from individual Health Savings Accounts to pay for all medically necessary procedures and classifies payment for such treatment as “a qualified medical expense” for state tax purposes.

McAffrey reiterated, as he has in past interviews with CapitolBeatOK, that he will support any health insurance reform effort that makes it harder for insurance companies to deny coverage when a doctor has recommended a procedure.

“I’m glad I was able to co-author this bill with Rep. Derby,” said Rep. McAffrey. “Hopefully, we can muster the votes on both sides of the aisle needed to protect lives in Oklahoma.”

House Bill 3238 passed the Public Health Committee on Feb. 23 and moved onto the floor of the Oklahoma House.