- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2020

An elderly or disabled person will not be billed extra or be blocked from receiving health care because of high costs in Oklahoma, after passage of anti-discrimination legislation.

On Friday, Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, approved the “Nondiscrimination in Health Care Coverage” Act, which would prevent a state agency from using age, chronic illness, or ability from determining a reimbursement cost to a provider for medical services.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma Senate sent the act to the governor’s desk in a 38-6 vote. The bill’s text recognizes historic prejudice in state formulas used to reimburse healthcare providers for services to the old, infirm, and disabled.

“An agency shall be prohibited from developing or employing a dollars-per-quality adjusted life year, or similar measure that discounts the value of a life because of an individual’s disability, including age or chronic illness, as a threshold to establish what type of health care is cost-effective or recommended,” the final text of the bill states.

Matt Valliere, executive director of the Patients Rights Action Fund, a group opposed to euthanasia, said his group applauds Mr. Stitt and the Oklahoma legislature.

“With the signing of HB 2587, Oklahoma is now a leader and a model for the whole country on QALYs and preserving in law the inherent and equal dignity of each person, as enshrined in both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Constitution,” said Mr. Valliere, in a statement.

The law will go into effect on November 1.

• Christopher Vondracek can be reached at cvondracek@washingtontimes.com.

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