Healthcare on state senator's mind

State Sen. Greg McCortney has been chosen to co-chair a bipartisan, bicameral working group to find a way for the state to increase access to healthcare and provide insurance coverage for more Oklahomans.

McCortney, whose district includes most of Garvin County, successfully co-chaired a 2018 working group charged with developing the regulatory framework for the implementation of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law after it was approved by voters last year.

McCortney said that experience will be of tremendous importance as this working group tackles the issue of healthcare.

“This is an extremely complex issue, but one that I know many of the citizens of Senate District 13 are very concerned about,” said McCortney, R-Ada.

“There are far too many health statistics where Oklahoma is trailing the nation. We need to improve access to healthcare and insurance in a way that works best for our state.

“When we held studies as part of our working group for State Question 788 last year, we were able to bring in experts from throughout the country to look at best practices, thoroughly examine all the relevant issues, and develop a comprehensive approach. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing with this healthcare working group.”

McCortney, who also serves as vice chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said all stakeholders would be included in the healthcare study.

“I was the Senate principal author of the Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act this past session which was approved by both chambers and signed into law,” he said. “This was also a complex issue of great interest to many Oklahomans – I believe we were successful because we worked hard to bring everyone to the table. That was the case with our medical marijuana working group as well.

“We’ve got a great blueprint to work from as we seek the best approaches to providing more access to quality, affordable healthcare in Oklahoma.”

The senator said the plan is to look at things now being done by other states, along with successful models used in Oklahoma.

“The discussion must be far broader and more in-depth than just Medicaid expansion,” McCortney said.

“I think it’s very important to point out the initiative petition dealing with this topic would put Obamacare in our state’s constitution. If that happened, it would nullify anything we passed and would tie our hands in that lawmakers couldn’t simply amend the law to address unintended consequences – it would have to go to a vote of the people which could mean critical delays in correcting problems.

“With this working group, we are absolutely focused on delivering the best approach possible for Oklahomans.”

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