I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter!

The House Insurance Committee [on Monday, April 17] passed a bill that will allow individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines.

SB 478 will allow the Oklahoma Insurance Department to compact with other states in offering more affordable and better tailored individual health insurance policies across state lines. The plans would still have to be approved by each participating state legislature.

The bill would allow Oklahomans to keep their current plans if they wish, or they can shop for other competitive plans to meet their individual needs. It will also allow individuals to find better coverage in some insurances, such as for autism care that is better provided for by 46 other states than in Oklahoma.

This bill will allow the insurance department to move forward on negotiating plans and forming a compact. It has protections for Oklahoma companies as they compete to match policies offered by other states. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners are against federal mandates of such compacts, but they favor each state choosing participation for itself.

HB 2298 passed the Senate and is on its way to the Governor. This bill moves up the sunset date of the zero-emissions tax credit to July 1, 2017.

Governor Fallin announced the state of Oklahoma and Tulsa-based Family and Children’s Services (F&CS) have entered into a groundbreaking Pay for Success (PFS) contract aimed at reducing Oklahoma’s nation-leading female incarceration rate by securing public-private investment in the successful Women in Recovery (WIR) prison diversion program. It will enable WIR to expand its services, admitting up to 125 women into the program annually for up to five years.

PFS is an innovative funding model that combines nonprofit expertise, private funding, and independent evaluation to transform how government leaders respond to chronic social issues. Through PFS, funders provide the upfront capital to scale effective service providers. Government agrees to repay funders if and when the project achieves its desire impact. Through PFS, the state will repay only if WIR participants are not incarcerated in the Oklahoma Departments of Corrections (DOC).

The state requires F&CS to secure at least $2 million in capital to fund the program each year before the contract can be renewed. To reduce financial risk for the state and to assure continued financial advocacy of WIR, the George Kaiser Family Foundation will also continue to provide its current commitment of $1.8 million a year to services to address female incarceration in Tulsa County, including WIR. This funding allows for payments from the state to be reinvested directly back into a successful program, as outcomes are achieved.

The PFS project was made possible by SB 1278, which was signed into law in 2014. The contract will present no financial risk to the state, which was appealing to state officials at a time of budget challenges. Payments are only made for successful program outcomes.

It is my honor to serve you as your state representative! Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Rep. Will Fourkiller (D- District 86) represents the 86th district in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached at will.fourkiller@okhouse.gov‬‬‬‬ or at 405-557-7394.