Lawmakers heard from representatives from the Oklahoma Department of Health and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority this week as they begin the process of developing a legislative solution that will improve the state’s healthcare system.

The lawmakers are part of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Healthcare Working Group created by House of Representatives Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Senate President Pro-Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, to develop an Oklahoma-based solution for increasing access to healthcare and providing insurance coverage for more citizens.

The working group with two members representing districts with a piece of Garvin County held its first meeting at the state Capitol.

State Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, of District 13, which covers most of Garvin County, is a co-chair of the working group now looking closer at the state's healthcare system.

McCortney says he expects the group to set goals to accomplish in the next legislative session and define action steps toward achieving the identified objectives.

“(The) first meeting was successful and productive,” McCortney said.

“It also showed us what we all know to be true and that is there’s a lot of work to be done in the arena of improving health care outcomes and increasing access to quality health care in Oklahoma. I’m excited to be co-chairing this group alongside Rep. (Marcus) McEntire. We’re committed to hearing from all sides of the equation.

“Ultimately, our goal is to collect good data and input from all stakeholders that will better inform the working group as we look at policy recommendations for the entire Legislature to consider. There’s lots of work to be done, so let’s get to it!”

McEntire, R-Duncan, said his hope is that the working group will first listen to all stakeholders from patients to providers, policy experts, insurance carriers, facilities and state agencies to find solutions to help state residents with their health care and insurance needs.

Also appointed as a member of the group is state Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay, whose District 42 also covers most of Garvin County.

Right now the plan is for the working group to meet weekly.

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