Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Legislative News

July 10, 2008

Billy, Hilliard named to Health Care Task Force

Two Garvin County legislators have been appointed by House Speak Chris Benge to a bipartisian special House Health Care Task Force to study the health care system in Oklahoma.

Rep. Lisa Billy, R-Purcell, and Rep. Wes Hilliard, D-Sulphur, will join five other House members on the Task Force.

Benge announced the bipartisian appointments Monday.

“This task force will take a comprehensive look at our health care system and the problems fueling growth in the number of uninsured Oklahomans,” said Benge, R-Tulsa. “The group’s emphasis will be to find common-sense solutions that empower families, not creating a government-run, single-payer system that simply grows bureaucracy.”

A newly released survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly one in three Oklahomans younger than age 65 does not have health insurance – a larger percentage than any other state in the nation.

“It would be a mistake to spend our time simply expanding benefits for those fortunate enough to already have coverage when so many have no insurance at all,” Benge said. “We don’t want health care coverage to simply be attractive; it needs to be affordable.”

The task force members will be charged with studying efforts in other states and gathering testimony from national experts in the heath care field as part of their work.

The group’s first meeting is scheduled July 24th and will feature Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as officials with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Joining Reps. Billy and Hilliard on the Task Force members are:

•State Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove and task force co-chair;

•State Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee and task force co-chair;

•State Rep. Ron Peterson, R-Broken Arrow;

•State Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa; and

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