( – promoted by peacearena)
Monday, April 7th at noon
Location: State Capitol – South Steps
Andrew Rice will join Rep. Kris Steele (R-Shawnee), Monty Collings, and representatives from the health care industry in a rally for Steffanie’s Law (SB1521).
The bill, which would mandate insurance coverage of routine medical procedures for patients enrolled in a clinical trial, passed the Senate by a large margin. However, it is in danger of not being heard by the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee, and therefore not having a chance to go to a floor vote.
Please join Sen. Rice, Rep. Steele, and the family of Steffanie Collings (for whom the bill is named) to encourage the House of Representatives to set aside partisan games and allow this important legislation to be heard.
A message from Sen. Andrew Rice:
The life of Steffanie Collings will always be remembered and honored by her family and friends – I know I will never forget her. But the bill that bears her name, which I introduced in the Oklahoma State Senate and that she and her family have fought to pass, is in critical danger of not being heard by my colleagues in the House of Representatives. We urgently need your help.
Steffanie’s Law (SB1521) would help families who find themselves in an unfortunate situation similar to the Collings. Though Monty and Tracy Collings played by the rules and paid their health-insurance premiums in a timely manner throughout their daughter’s battle with cancer, their insurance company denied coverage of routine medical costs after Steffanie enrolled in a clinical trial. The Collings had to make a decision between cutting-edge treatment that offered the best chance of saving Steffanie’s life, or avoiding financial ruin. They chose to help Steffanie and quickly accrued over $400,000 in medical debt.
My bill would require insurance companies not to deny their level of basic coverage for patients enrolled in clinical trials – the actual costs of which are most often paid by research facilities or pharmaceutical companies. Steffanie’s Law received overwhelming and bipartisan support in the Senate, passing 31-13. Sadly, we lost Steffanie only hours later.
This legislation is now supposed to be heard in the House Economic Development and Financial Services committee. But Republican partisanship is blocking its path. The committee chair is has already killed a similar bill affecting children with autism and told the Daily Oklahoman on Friday he is “uncertain” if Steffanie’s Law will even get a committee hearing. Of course, he is the same Representative who introduced HB 3111 to protect insurance companies by making it harder for elected legislators to pass mandated coverage for their constituents.
This kind of game is not democracy, and it’s not good government. Almost half of the 50 states have required insurance companies to continue paying for routine medical costs for patients who enroll in clinical trials. When the stakes are as high as they are for families like the Collings, petty partisanship should not be a barrier to good laws.
I urge you all to help now to get this law heard in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. On Monday, I’ve been invited by the Collings family and other health care advocates to participate in a rally to demonstrate to the leadership of the House of Representatives that they should to put the needs of Oklahomans ahead of the interests of insurance companies. Join us Monday at noon and show your support for the Collings and for families in similar situations. Join us to hold the insurance companies to their word and not play games with people’s lives. Join us to stand up for good governance and an end to partisan games.
Rep. Peterson, Ron – Chair
Rep. Faught, George – Vice Chair
Representative Auffet, John
Representative Brown, Mike
Representative Cannaday, Ed
Representative Collins, Wallace
Representative Derby, David
Representative Hickman, Jeffrey W.
Representative Hoskin, Chuck
Representative Jordan, Fred
Representative McPeak, Jerry
Representative Peters, Ron
Representative Piatt, Greg
Representative Sears, Earl
Representative Shelton, Mike
Representative Wesselhoft, Paul
Representative Winchester, Susan
Links to contact info for each member can be found on the committee page, here.