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Rep. James Lankford answers constituent questions about health care

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act an infringement on state sovereignty but said some of the reforms in the bill are good and many changes are needed to the health care industry.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND and OLIVIA INGLE Published: July 4, 2012

Rep. James Lankford told about 60 constituents Tuesday at a town hall meeting that changes are needed in the health care industry and that he could support creating an online program allowing consumers to compare health insurance companies.

Although Lankford wouldn't discuss whether Oklahoma should set up an online health care exchange as required by federal law, he said such exchanges could accelerate free market competition.

“If there's a private structure for that and there's a way to engage with that, I'm all for it,” Lankford said. “I have no issue with the free market. What I have an issue with is when the federal government steps in and says, ‘You're going to do it; you're going to do it my way.'

“We should walk that line very carefully. We should do things that are good for our citizens in Oklahoma.”

Government leaders in Oklahoma are still attempting to push back against the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Oklahoma was one of 26 states to challenge the law in federal court, but the Supreme Court struck down many of their challenges last week.

Gov. Mary Fallin said shortly after the ruling was announced last week that Oklahoma would continue to hope for repeal of the law. It's unclear whether Oklahoma will move forward creating the required health care exchange or whether the state will let the federal government establish one for the state.

The town hall meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center Reno Campus was one of a series of meetings Lankford holds with constituents when he returns to Oklahoma from Washington, D.C. Most of the attendees asked questions about how the federal health care act would impact them, particularly through new fees imposed by the law.


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