Written by Mike Ritze
OKLAHOMA CITY - The voters of Oklahoma will have the opportunity to preserve the existing health care system in Oklahoma under legislation sought by three state legislators.
State Reps. Mike Ritze and Mike Reynolds and state Sen. Randy Brogdon announced today that they will file legislation enacting the "Freedom of Healthcare Choice Act," allowing voters to preserve the existing healthcare system in Oklahoma regardless of congressional action at the federal level.
The legislation will allow a vote of the people to opt out of the proposed federal system.
"It's clear the overwhelming majority of Americans want the current doctor-patient relationship preserved instead of having Washington bureaucrats dictate medical decisions," said Ritze, a Broken Arrow Republican who is also a board-certified family practice physician and surgeon. "The proposals under consideration in Congress are likely to result in reduced access to a family doctor, rationing of services, or even outright denial of care if a pencil-pusher decides it is not a 'best practice.' My legislation would give the voters the ability to protect and preserve their existing health care coverage."
"The United States' health care system is the envy of the world and the people of Oklahoma should have the opportunity to maintain the top-notch care they have received while also avoiding the onerous burdens the proposed federal law would impose on working families," said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City.
"The proposed legislation in Washington is a massive overstepping of the bounds placed on Congress by our U.S. Constitution," said Brogdon, R-Owasso. "It is time that we the people tell Congress enough is enough - and now Oklahomans will have the opportunity to do so."
Modeled on an Arizona proposal, Ritze and Reynolds' legislation would place language on the ballot to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to declare what types of health care systems could lawfully exist in the state.
The proposed constitutional amendment would
The amendment would not change what health care services a provider is required to perform or what health care services are permitted by law.
"This is an issue that could have serious consequences for all citizens and it is only right to allow voters a direct role in the outcome of this debate," Ritze said.
"I was not surprised that the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate kept the specific language of their bill from the public and most of their members," Reynolds said. "In comparison, the language of our "Freedom of Healthcare Choice Act" will be fully disclosed as soon as it is filed, probably later this afternoon. We welcome any discussion."