Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Thursday, August 17th, 2017Last Update: Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 01:57:38 PM

Honest Change of Mind or Political Flip-flop?

By: Charlie Meadows

HB 2130, a high profile bill by Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele and supported by Governor Mary Fallin, passed the House with only 51 votes and then headed for the Senate. The legislation intended to set up a health care insurance exchange using a $54.6 million "Early Innovator" grant from the federal government, made available through the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAA), referred to by opponents as ObamaCare.

Once it arrived in the Senate, Steele and Fallin were both surprised when Senate President Pro-Tem Brian Bingman said the Senate would not hear the bill. Bingman indicated that in doing so, Oklahoma might become tied to ObamaCare.

Governor Fallin appeared unruffled when she declared the next day that it would become part of future negotiations. Conservative grassroots activists became suspicious that Senator Bingman might not be serious and that similar wording might appear in another piece of legislation.

I had conversations with several senators who indicated the educational information provided by Jonathan Small of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) had convinced them that in taking the money Oklahoma would indeed become wed to ObamaCare. Therefore, the Senate leadership became more strident in its opposition and they began to look for an alternative that would stave off a threat from the feds. Some senators indicated Oklahoma would be forced to accept a federal exchange designed by the feds in 2013 if we didn't have a plan in the process of creation by that date.

About this same time, opposition to HB 2130 came from another direction. In my 30 years of observing Oklahoma government, I have never seen a freshman class of lawmakers band together to take a stand, especially in opposition to the Speaker. However, on Wednesday, April 13th, 12 Republican freshmen issued a joint press release expressing their opposition to taking the $54.6 million from the feds. Their reasoning's were hard core conservative.

With the Senate firmly against the bill, and several freshmen disgruntled in having been pressured to vote for something they didn't fully understand when it was first voted on, Speaker Steele and Governor Fallin were caught in the middle. It became apparent it was time to change their mind and save face by getting on board with the Senate's alternative.

The next day, there was a joint press conference with Bingman, Fallin, and Steele, announcing that they would reject the $54.6 million grant and Oklahoma would create the Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network exchange with state and private funds.

While state leaders have agreed in principle to the alternative, the legislation must still work its way through the process. No doubt lawmakers are trying to buy time hoping that things change in Washington and ObamaCare is rolled back. If this piece of legislation passes, we will have some time to determine if it is good or bad for the citizens of Oklahoma. If not, it has a provision in the bill to renew or repeal the Network on or before the last week of May, 2014.

Many grassroots conservatives are still concerned the "Oklahoma Network" is too similar to ObamaCare's strategy and objectives. The best source of information as to the problems with the "Oklahoma Network" are to be found on the Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise (OK-SAFE) web-site: www.ok-safe.com

I believe legislation to opt-out of any kind of state or federal government exchange is the best path to take. However, I don't believe we have a governor who is willing to stand up to the federal government, nor do I believe that without the leadership of a Randy Brogdon in the Legislature that it is likely for either of the two bodies to lead out with legislation to opt-out of an exchange. Therefore, I believe this alternative plan is the best for Oklahoma.

For those who want nothing or legislation to opt-out, now is the time to contact your State Representative and State Senator. Forget about contacting the Governor on this issue at this time, as she will be out of the loop unless we can get a bill to her desk. If grassroots conservatives can apply enough pressure upon lawmakers to get an opt-out bill to her desk, then Governor Fallin will become very important as she would have a choice to sign the legislation or smash it with a veto.

Readers will have to decide if educational information caused leaders to change opinions or did they feel the heat and see the light? Frankly, Oklahomans shouldn't give a hoot. Fallin and legislative leaders should be praised for not taking the $54.6 million from the bankrupt federal government which doesn't have it to give in the first place.

Charlie Meadows is president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC). You may contact him at: Charliemeadows7@gmail.com

About Charlie Meadows

Charlie Meadows is the founder and former president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC).

Other Articles By Charlie Meadows

Dan Fisher for Governor: What in the world is he thinking?

After informing many folks about former Republican State Representative Dan Fisher, now pastor,...

Have Republican Lawmakers Been Suckered into the Agenda of the Education Industry?

Have Republican Lawmakers Been Suckered into the Agenda of the Education Industry?...

The Prudent Fix for Oklahomas Long Term Budget Problems!

Here we go again, another year of expected budget short falls, caused mainly by the downturn in...

Solving School Funding and Overcrowding Problems

Solving School Funding and Overcrowding Problems...

Governor Fallin "Worse than I Expected"

When Mary Fallin was running for governor in 2010, I made no bones about her not being a...

Sen. Loveless, New Pom Pom Leader for Indian Cultural Center

Freshman state Senator Kyle Loveless (R-Mustang) had a column in the Oklahoman explaining his flip...

Honest Change of Mind or Political Flip-flop?

HB 2130, a high profile bill by Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele and supported by Governor Mary...

Other Constitution Columnists

Linda Murphy

Oklahomas Education Standards for American History
Oklahomas standards and testing for American History are being rewritten as educators learned at the...

Theodore King

THE FEDERAL PAGE for Summer 2017
Congressman Markwayne MullinDid, Indeed, Not Tell the TruthIn the spring issue I wrote that Second...

Richard Engle

Republicans for Governor
Its early, but any serious candidate has, by now at least, made public their intent to run. The...

Brandon Dutcher

Bartlesville School Board Looks Out for Taxpayers
In June, the Bartlesville school board voted unanimously to outsource the schools janitorial...

Andrew K. Boyle

Drew Edmondson and the Coming Democratic SuperCell
Its the lazy days of summer. That time of the year when political noise tends to quiet a bit....

In The News

Constitution Staff

Special Elections for Legislative Seats
Special Elections to fill vacancies in the Oklahoma Legislature are progressing, with three of seven...

Stan Ward

Tax Profligation Challenged
SQ 640 was perhaps the most prolific grass roots amendment ever to the Oklahoma Constitution....

Rep. Jason Murphey

The New Ideology of the Legislature
I will detail here the chain of events that transformed what I initially believed could be the best...

Steve Byas

Our Michelle Obama Legislature
When we started the Oklahoma Conservative Index in 1979, we had about 20 Republicans in the state...

Constitution Staff

Oklahoma Legislators Rated
This issue of the Oklahoma Constitution presents the 39th annual Oklahoma Conservative Index, rating...

Constitution Columnists

Linda Murphy

Oklahomas Education Standards for American History
Oklahomas standards and testing for American History are being rewritten as educators learned at the...

Theodore King

THE FEDERAL PAGE for Summer 2017
Congressman Markwayne MullinDid, Indeed, Not Tell the TruthIn the spring issue I wrote that Second...

Richard Engle

Republicans for Governor
Its early, but any serious candidate has, by now at least, made public their intent to run. The...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks2010.com - Guthrie, Oklahoma.