Fallin’s choice for the cabinet position — which was created by combining the vacant offices of secretaries of energy and environment — was immediately criticized by the president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, the state’s largest industry trade organization.
Three Oklahoma organizations will receive a combined $1.6 million in federal funds to provide navigators under the Affordable Care Act, a move Insurance Commissioner John Doak called a waste of money.
“First, (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) wastes money an increases costs for insurers and consumers by duplicating regulation already performed by the Oklahoma Insurance Department,” Doak said in a press release. “Now, they continue this wastefulness by spending more on organizations that will be duplicating the work done by Oklahoma’s licensed agents and brokers.”
More than 335,000 insurance and agents and brokers are licensed by the Insurance Department.
The cost of health benefits for state and education workers is going up in 2014.
At the recommendation of a board that oversees benefits for most public workers, Office of Management and Enterprise Services Preston Doerflinger approved the increase in premium rates on Friday.
The Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board recommended an overall increase of 3.6 percent for the self-funded HealthChoice Plan and a 2.2 percent hike in the monthly premium for the HealthChoice Medicare supplement plan.
An Oklahoma judge has blocked legislation that would have restricted access to over the counter emergency contraceptives in the state.
Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis granted a temporary restraining order this morning stopping the new law that would have required girls under the age of 17 to have a prescription before a pharmacist would give them the “morning after” pill.
In just six weeks, nearly one in 10 Oklahomans will be able to buy subsidized health policies from private insurance companies through a new online marketplace set up by the federal government.
Many more who don’t qualify for the subsidies will still be able to shop on the marketplace and obtain coverage, even if they’ve been turned down in the past for pre-existing conditions.
But it won’t be simple. Several companies will offer policies, with different levels of coverage. Tax credits will be available for people falling within certain income ranges. Many people will need one-on-one assistance to navigate the registration process.
More than 90 percent of Americans say public libraries are important to their communities, according to the Pew Research Center. But the way that love translates into actual financial support varies hugely from state to state.
Vermont, for instance, brags that it has more libraries per capita than any other U.S. state. Some of them are remarkably quaint. In Ludlow, one library is a white clapboard Victorian, slightly frayed, ringed by lilies and sitting by the side of a brook.