Business leaders told members of the Joint Committee on Federal Health Care Law today that an Oklahoma health insurance marketplace is preferable to a federal government-imposed, one-size-fits-all exchange that will be forced upon states that do not enact their own plan.
Phil Kennedy, President of Comanche Home Center in Lawton, former State Chamber chairman and member of the U.S. Chamber Board of Directors, testified before the committee today about the effect the Affordable Care Act could have on Oklahoma businesses.
“At the end of the day, we want what’s best for our employees. They need to have confidence that quality, affordable health care will be available to them and their families. We will not be able to create and attract jobs in Oklahoma if our benefit packages are not competitive with surrounding states,” said Kennedy.
“The uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act has lessened business owners’ confidence in the federal government to create a system that is good for employers and employees alike. I believe Oklahoma leaders know what is best for our state, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy was part of a press conference held last week announcing the formation of the Oklahomans for Free Market Health Solutions. The broad-based coalition of health care and business leaders are encouraging legislative leaders to find a private-sector, Oklahoma-based solution to the mandates in the federal Affordable Care Act.
Coalition members—representing a growing, diverse group of 30 organizations—are stressing the need for an Oklahoma solution to the law before a federal health care exchange is forced upon Oklahoma businesses, health care providers and consumers.
Mike Rogers, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for BancFirst and chairman of The State Chamber’s Health Care Committee, also testified about the need for the business community’s involvement in this issue.
“Oklahomans are the best to develop a health care system that meets the unique needs of our state,” said Rogers. “We want the flexibility to design our own Oklahoma-based, private-sector driven health care system, not one forced upon us by the federal health care law.”