Call to Action
Vote NO on SB329
Please Call or email members of the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee listed below and tell them to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 329 by Sen. Jason Smalley. You can reach them by calling the Senate at (405) 524-0126. We have sent a letter to Sen. Smalley outlining our opposition. OPEA is not the only group opposing this bill but they need to hear from you.
Chairman Sen. Bill Brown email@example.com
Vice Chairman Sen. Marty Quinn firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. James Leewright email@example.com
Sen. Bryce Marlatt firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Kevin Matthews email@example.com
Sen. Dan Newberry firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Lonnie Paxton email@example.com
Sen. Roland Pederson firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Ralph Shortey email@example.com
Sen. John Sparks firstname.lastname@example.org
This bill is detrimental to state employees and retirees because it will drive up HealthChoice, Community Care, and Aetna costs even more. It will cause younger, healthier state employees to leave those plans thus increasing out of pocket costs for those who need coverage. The bill creates financial incentives for an HMO to design benefit plans and provider networks that don’t cover employees with greater health care needs. The Oklahoma Employees Benefits and Insurance Board has already considered the changes that this bill would mandate and determined that they are NOT in the best interests of the state or its employees.
The bill could also limit health care access in rural Oklahoma due to fewer health professionals in networks serving state employees, teachers and retirees.
The HMO supporting this bill says it will create savings due to competition. But, it won’t because the HMOs will create plans designed to attract people with fewer health needs at a lower cost.
Some say HealthChoice is “losing money”. But, this isn’t true either. Health Choice is funded through the premiums that its members pay. The plan has taken money from its reserves to help keep premiums down during the past few years. HealthChoice does not receive an appropriation from the legislature. This bill does not save the state money.
It is important you call these legislators now because the bill will likely be heard in committee this week and needs to be defeated.
Please help protect our benefits. If you are a state employee, please do so on your lunch hour and use your own telephone. The Senate author, Sen. Smalley, is a friend of OPEA’s and is supportive of our proposal to increase state employee pay. This bill is one of those instances where we disagree with our friends on policy. OPEA members are strong, but professional, when we advocate. Thank you for working to defeat this bill.