Editorial Okla. Capitol convenes for special session

Legislatures in the state Capitol are working to get Okla. House Bill 1603 reinstated by the Okla. Supreme Court to ensure businesses and healthcare professionals stay in Okla.

Gov. Mary Fallin, in a letter printed in the East Word newspaper, told readers that the bill was important because it reduces the potentially hostile climate she claimed would drive businesses and health care professionals from Okla.

In Ziva Branstetter’s, Tulsa World’s world enterprise editor, article “State prosecuted doctor Fallin cites among ‘frivolous lawsuits’”, a doctor who allegedly wrongfully prescribed medication to patients is among one of the “frivolous lawsuits” listed by Fallin’s office to push for the convening of the special legislative session.
The doctor was charged by the Attorney General’s office in 2009 for drug distribution and Medicaid fraud. A mother seeking justice for her son’s death after he overdosed on a “lethal” mix of medications sued the doctor in 2010.

Photo courtesy of mctcampus.com

Photo courtesy of mctcampus.com

The mother, according to Branstetter’s article, couldn’t understand why the state would choose her lawsuit as frivolous since the doctor had already been facing misconduct allegations.

The Okla. Supreme Court declared H.B. 1603 “unconstitutional” because it “created a financial barrier to citizens’ access to courts, applies to a ‘special class’ of people and violates the Constitutions single-subject rule.”

Fallin wrote in the letter that the number of medical malpractice lawsuits from 2009 – 2011 had declined by 39% for an all time low.

However, it is a matter of conscience to ask how much has the citizens suffered due to an inability to afford the affidavit of merit that would be required to start a malpractice lawsuit. It is one thing to create a productive economic state and another to isolate and leave your citizens vulnerable to professional misconduct.

If Fallin wants to create better economic standards while also providing for her citizens, she should incorporate better managing and ethic committees who can ensure that there is not a need for malpractice situations by policing businesses and health care professionals.

A failing health insurance system is an additional issue facing the state, yet Fallin refused to deter from H.B. 1603 during the special session. This leads to the question as to just what Fallin is doing for the people of Oklahoma. Is she out to make the rich, richer? And the poor, poorer? Or is she trying to keep a fragile economic growth stable amidst ever expanding challenges?

One thing is for sure, Fallin is failing to address the multitude of situations caused by a declining system of governance.

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