Friday, April 01, 2011

Senator Brian Bingman = Admiral Ackbar

The federal health care bill, lovingly referred to as Obamacare by most Republicans, stipulates that every state needs to set up a health insurance exchange where consumers can access information about cost and coverage of every insurance carrier in the state. It is a free-market idea, one that makes comparing different plans easier and expands consumer choice. But a fully functioning exchange would require some additional investment in information technology infrastructure, which is why the federal government is giving away millions of dollars worth of grants to the states to help them set their exchanges up.

Enter Senator Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), the president pro-tem of the Oklahoma Senate. He told reporters that a bill passed by the state House of Representatives that helps establish a state health insurance exchange would not be considered by the Senate. "We're concerned about actually falling into the trap ... of adopting the Obamacare, which is really what we're against," said the Senator, who last month released a joint statement with Governor Mary Fallin and House Speaker Kris Steele (Republicans all) saying he supported the federal grant. Steele and Fallin both still support getting free money from the federal government to better the lives of their fellow Oklahomans. And it's not like these people could ever be described as liberals.

"My hope is that the federal health care bill will either be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court or that Congress might take up legislation to repeal it and replace it with other free-market health care reform initiatives," Fallin said. "But whether that happens or not, the federal health care bill is still the law of the land."

If Oklahoma fails to take action to establish its own health insurance exchange, Fallin warned the federal government will impose its own system on the state.

"I don't think it's helpful to the state of Oklahoma not to have a plan in place," Fallin said. "I also think it puts us on a dangerous path of the Obama administration being able to come in and force a federal exchange on our state."

So Fallin fears a trap just as much as Bingman does. She is just responding a little bit more proactively than he is.

Oklahomans passed a bill last November allowing Oklahoma to opt out of any federal health care law due to a fear of government intrusion (and therefore socialism). The Senate president pro-tem thinks that accepting money from the federal government would trap the state into accepting government intrusion (and therefore socialism). The Governor thinks that not creating an exchange would lead to government intrusion (and therefore socialism).

Our governor, our state leaders, and the majority of state voters are all a bunch of Admiral Ackbars, too blinded by right-wing dogma to see that the whole point of Obamacare is to offer choices to consumers to get us a step closer to universal health insurance coverage.


Anonymous said...

I guess you'll want to get a facebook button to your website. Just marked down this site, but I must do it by hand. Just my 2 cents.

Steve said...

That's a great idea actually. Thanks!