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Mullin Discusses Dangerous Effects of Lone Insurance Provider in Rural Oklahoma

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Muskogee, June 6, 2017 | comments

With only one insurer in the state of Oklahoma on the federal marketplace exchange, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) expressed his concern regarding the lack of health care options in his district of rural Oklahoma. 

Rural patients can suffer devastating consequences when health care choices are limited.  In February, Tulsa’s Saint Francis Health System announced its acquisition of the EASTAR Health System in Muskogee.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Oklahoma, the only insurer left on the Obamacare marketplace exchange, agreed to cover individuals’ in-network expenses at the new Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee for a certain amount of time.  The agreement expired on May 31, leaving hundreds, potentially thousands, of individuals in the Muskogee area with BCBS insurance without nearby health care access in their network.

“Rural areas across our country consistently face unique challenges when it comes to health care access,” Mullin said.  “In this instance, individuals with BCBS insurance in and around Muskogee find themselves without a practical health care option because their local hospital no longer accepts the only insurer left on the Obamacare marketplace.”

“Oklahomans need and deserve accessible, affordable options when it comes to their health care,” Mullin continued.  “Now more than ever, rural America needs rescuing from Obamacare and the death spiral of coverage it created.”

There are more than 146,000 individuals across the state of Oklahoma on the federal marketplace exchange put in place by Obamacare.  In order to revive the failing health insurance market across the nation, the House passed the American Health Care Act on May 4, 2017.  The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

The American Health Care Act repeals and replaces Obamacare.  It provides refundable tax credits for those who do not have insurance through their employer, reforms Medicaid to shift power back to the states, expands Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to give Americans greater choice and flexibility in purchasing health coverage, safeguards pre-existing conditions with federally funded high-risk pools and continuous coverage protections, and restores pro-life principles by defunding Planned Parenthood.  Health insurance companies can never deny an individual coverage based on a pre-existing condition, even if that state has applied to waive coverage of certain essential health benefits.
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