Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Passes Bills on Business Issues

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Passes Bills on Business Issues

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday passed legislation dealing with health insurance, state treasurer oversight, economic impact of environmental regulations and telecommunications. House Bill 2256 would create a program for guaranteed health insurability. Insurance companies could group together to create risk pools to insure high risk people.

The bill would set criteria for standard guaranteed issue plans for small business groups, defined as two to 200 employees.

Sen. Bernest Cain, D-Oklahoma City, a co-author of the bill, said the measure was designed to help people with pre-existing conditions that cannot get health insurance. The bill would call for managed care to be brought in over a period of years, but Cain agreed to discuss that provision in a joint conference committee.

If insurance carriers had a managed care option in their programs, it could lower costs, he said.

The bill is aimed at discouraging "cherry picking" by insurance companies, which refers to covering only low-risk individuals and groups, he said. Cain stressed that House Bill 2256 would not mandate employers to provide health insurance to employees.

The bill, which would be effective Jan. 1, passed the Senate 40-5, and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration of Senate amendments. Principal House author is Rep. Calvin Anthony, D-Stillwater. House Bill 2656 would increase oversight on the state treasurer's office. Principally co-authored by Rep. James Hamilton, D-Poteau, and Sen. Herb Rozell, D-Tahlequah, the measure passed the Senate by 39-8.

The frequency of meetings of the Cash Management and Investment Oversight Commission would be increased from quarterly to monthly. The commission would submit a monthly written report detailing entities with whom the treasurer transacted business. …

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