Gov. Brad Henry signed legislation Friday to restrict the sale of violent video games to children. The governor also signed bills reforming the state's Medicaid system, ensuring repeat child molesters could face the death penalty and reorganizing the Office of Juvenile Affairs, which includes granting special privileges to nonprofit Oklahoma youth services agencies.
House Bill 3004 will prohibit selling video games to minors that feature inappropriate and gratuitous violence. "The violence in video games has grown to epic proportions," the governor said in a statement. HB 2842 includes reforms that expand state funding for Medicaid reimbursement for doctors and hospitals, creates a database of medical records and a system of online prescribing and forms a graduated reimbursement rate plan for nursing homes. It also creates a system to deter abuse and reduce errors in Medicaid billing, payment and eligibility. House bill author Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, who headed a bipartisan task force last year on Medicaid reforms, said the bill moves the Medicaid system from a "one-size-fits-all" program to one that is tailored to each patient's needs. The new program will be phased in, and components of the existing Medicaid system will provide a safety net for those who are otherwise uninsurable, he said. The measure also increases the number of Oklahomans with health insurance coverage. It expands the Insure Oklahoma program passed in 2004 that helps small businesses with up to 25 employees provide health insurance for their employees. HB 2842 expands the program's eligibility to businesses with up to 50 workers.
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