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Oklahoma Rejects Bill to Add Ambulatory Surgery to State Health Plans

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A bill offering Oklahoma state employees coverage for surgeries at ambulatory surgery centers has died in the state's Senate Appropriations Committee, according to a report from KOKH-TV Oklahoma City.

The bill was linked with the release of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has released its annual budget book, which offers the state's legislative body solutions for saving taxpayer dollars. The OPCA's Jonathan Small said the addition of ambulatory surgery to state employee health plans could save the state as much as $100 million.

Appropriations chair, republican Sen. Clark Jolly, said the bill was rejected because the new plan was unnecessary. "The amount of savings were not ascertained. We have not idea how much it would save, if any," he told Fox 25 News.

Supporters of the bill say the failure of the bill was in part due to significant hospital opposition to the idea, though appropriations committee members do not report having met hospital lobbyists on this particular legislation, according to the report.

The Office of Management and Enterprise services said the bill's language was controversial, and they are currently reviewing it. They noted a bill with reformed language could again be considered this legislative session, though overcoming opposition to changes to Oklahoma's insurance program could be challenging.

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