February 19, 2021   The Oklahoma legislature was still active this week despite missing a few days due to the snow. Next week promises to be busy as legislators work toward finishing up their first round of committee work. Action from this week:
  • Telehealth payment parity (SB674) passed its first hurdle making it through the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee 9-0. Now it will head to the Senate floor and must be heard by March 11.
  • Co-pay accumulator ban (SB92) also passed Retirement and Insurance 9-0. This bill also will head to the Senate floor.
  • HB1091, which would put protections for providers into law in the event managed care for Medicaid is implemented, passed committee.
  • Two anti-vaccine measures (SB747 and SB835) passed committee as well. The coalition has managed to stave off most measures. We are tracking about 30 measures. SB747 prohibits insurance companies from discriminating based upon vaccination status and SB835 would prohibit any discrimination based upon vaccination status. We are anxiously awaiting the first committee deadline so that some measures will go away. We will need to watch for language to be inserted into other bills but in general it will help to have far fewer bills to watch.
  • The Oklahoma Health Care Authority announced the selection of three companies to supply managed care for the state’s Medicaid dental program.
Looking forward:
  • HB2504 is on the agenda to be heard in House Judiciary in the coming week. The measure would put the Oklahoma City County Health Department and the Tulsa City County Health Department under the direction of the Oklahoma State Health Department. The departments currently subcontract with the state health department for certain programs but are mostly autonomous. Health care organizations have expressed concern with this.
  • We will be watching for HB2335 to be heard on the floor but will be asking House leadership not to hear the bill. The measure prohibits any vaccine mandates with the exceptions of those having to do with attendance at school already listed in Title 70 of the Oklahoma State Statutes.
  • As committees wrap up, we also will be pushing leadership to hear priority bills and not to hear the ones coming out of committee with which we have concerns.
This will be mostly the last week of committee work except that the House and Senate appropriations and budget committees were given until March 4 to hear bills because of the weather delays. Floor action will start in earnest this week as well as members work toward their first floor deadline of March 11. As always, we will keep you posted.  

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