OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Bill Coleman was among 18 state legislators recently appointed to the bipartisan, bicameral Healthcare Working Group. Legislative leaders want to create an overall plan to improve access to healthcare around the state as well as lower Oklahoma’s high uninsured rate.
“I’m excited to be a part of this working group. Unfortunately, our state ranks low in many health-related areas so improving the health of our citizens as well as access to high quality healthcare is a top priority for me,” said Coleman, R-Ponca City. Coleman’ s district includes all of Osage County and most of Kay County.
Medicaid expansion was a topic of interest at the capitol this session. Being such a complex issue, members needed more time to research all aspects of the issue to best serve the needs of all Oklahomans.
The working group will be like last summer’s medical marijuana group that met for 13 weeks bringing in experts, medical professionals, law enforcement, business owners, private citizens and representatives from other states to learn how to tackle the issue. The Healthcare Working Group will bring in all entities necessary to educate the group on healthcare matters including the short- and long-term impacts of Medicaid expansion.
“We need to take a serious look at Medicaid expansion and look at doing it in a manner that is more detailed than a ballot initiative,” explained Coleman. “Medicaid expansion is not a cut-and-dry issue. It’s tremendously complicated and will impact not only taxpayers today but in the future. Just like was discovered during the medical marijuana working group last year, there are many aspects that a lot of people haven’t even considered so it’s important that we bring in a well-rounded group of people to educate us on all aspects of this issue.”
Coleman is a member of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, which oversees the budgets of 12 state agencies, offices and authorities.
Along with the senate and house members, Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed his Policy Director Samantha Davidson as well as the Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Health Carter Kimble, to the committee.
The working group will begin meeting on a weekly basis sometime in August. The meetings will be open to the public and will also be streamed live on the senate website at www.oksenate.gov.