Legislators file more than 2,200 bills and resolutions

Posted on: 1/25/17

Oklahoma House and Senate members filed more than 2,200 bills and joint resolutions to be considered in the 2017 legislative session, which convenes on Feb. 6. OHA’s top priority legislation, HB 1841, increasing the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.50, was filed by House Chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang). Revenues from the increase will be dedicated to health care programs with a priority of restoring provider rates in the Medicaid and Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse programs and other Medicaid matched programs. These state funds generated by the cigarette tax increase would be matched by federal dollars at nearly a rate of $1.50 federal to $1 state. The Oklahoma Tax Commission has conservatively projected that on a 10-month basis, the new tax would bring in an additional $199.7 million in state revenue.  

Other OHA initiated legislation includes:

HB 1580, Caldwell (R- Enid), and SB 716, Yen (R-Oklahoma City), address telemedicine parity, meaning reimbursement for health care services in telemedicine must be comparable to services performed in person by the provider.

HB1697, Martin (R-Norman), authorizes any debtor county, city, town, municipal corporation, public trust formed pursuant to state statutes, county hospital, city hospital or any other political subdivision to conduct bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Background: Chapter 9 reorganization has been used for government-owned hospital facilities. The purpose of chapter 9 is to provide a financially distressed municipality protection from its creditors while it develops and negotiates a plan for adjusting its debts. Reorganization of the debts of a municipality is typically accomplished either by extending debt maturities, reducing the amount of principal or interest, or refinancing the debt by obtaining a new loan.

OHA is in the process of reviewing legislation and will make a listing available on the OHA website next week. Currently there are at least seven bills about requiring immunizations or allowing for exemptions to vaccination requirements; six bills related to the use of tobacco settlement funds (TSET), which have traditionally been dedicated to health care; eight bills related to paid family leave; three bills, in addition to the cigarette tax, restricting the use of tobacco products; at least 50 bills related to the use of firearms/weapons; 18 bills related to insurance, not including Medicaid; 18 bills related to drug use and drug testing; and 12 bills related to health professions, including HB 1013, which removes the requirement for an advanced practice nurse to work under a supervising physician in order to have prescriptive authority. 

OHA Partners with Qualivis 

Qualivis was developed as a collaborative effort among multiple state hospital associations to meet the temporary staffing needs of member hospitals and health systems.

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