Thursday, April 14, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today joined other state leaders in announcing that Oklahoma will establish a Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network to prevent the establishment of a federal health care exchange in Oklahoma.
Working together, leaders were able to address concerns expressed by some by adding specific safeguards into the legislation that will prevent the implementation of a federal health care exchange while creating an Oklahoma-based health insurance network. The Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network, based on a concept by the conservative Heritage Foundation and legislation passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2009, will increase access to affordable, private, portable health insurance plans through a free market-based network that offers choice and competition to consumers. The network will be governed by a board consisting of a majority of members from the private sector and chaired by the Insurance Commissioner. The network will be funded through state or private resources. The state will not accept the $54 million Early Innovator Grant.
Governor Mary Fallin: “I’m pleased to announce this agreement that accomplishes my goal from the very beginning: stopping the implementation of the president’s federal health care exchange in Oklahoma. We have addressed concerns expressed by implementing strict safeguards to prevent the implementation of the federal health care exchange while definitively laying out the framework for a free market-based network that will empower consumers by providing a place for individuals, families and small businesses to shop for affordable, quality health insurance plans.”
House Speaker Kris Steele: “Health care coverage is not a one-size-fits-all issue. We need to make all options available to the people. The goal is to equip Oklahomans with the information necessary to make wise decisions. The network will provide a user-friendly tool intended to help people identify a health plan that best fits their individual needs.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman: “This private enterprise network not only offers the people of Oklahoma more options when buying insurance, it will serve as a defensive strategy that protects Oklahoma from the federal health care law. This is Oklahoma’s solution and federalism at work. Our plan is based on the principals of the free market; it will not limit participation, it will increase competition among private plans and offer consumers the ability to shop for their best option.”