Steffanie's law stalled in House

Thursday, April 3rd 2008, 8:18 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

A bill that would require insurance companies to cover routine care for cancer patients undergoing clinical trials has reached a road block in the state legislature.

The bill named after Steffanie Collings, who died of cancer last month, is stalled in a House committee.

Steffanie's father, Monty Collings, said a lawmaker is using his daughter's bill as political leverage, and he's furious.

"Anybody that has cancer or has known anybody who's had cancer, in familes, in friends, relatives, this will affect them," Collings said.

Rep. Ron Peterson (R-Broken Arrow) is the chairman of the House committee that is considering the bill. Peterson has not had the committee hear the bill yet.

The bill already passed the Senate.

"It kind of floored us," Collings said.

Steffanie's father said Peterson told him in a closed door meeting that he will not hear the bill unless the family supports HB 3111.

Peterson authored HB 3111. It would require a cost-benefit analysis and a one year wait before any insurance mandate is voted on. It was stalled in a Senate committee. The bill died in committee Thursday.

"Honestly, I don't feel that's right to hold a bill he knows will pass if it gets to the floor over our heads to get something he wants through the Senate," Collings said. "We don't control the Senate."

Nancy Thomason from the Brain Tumor Foundation also was at the meeting.

"I feel like that's what citizens are tried of, that political maneuvering, game playing," she said.

Rep. Peterson said he had the meeting.

"I didn't say this for that, I said, I would appreciate it if they could find room to support that because it's important," Peterson said.

Peterson said he has not decided whether he'll hear Steffanie's bill.  Her family said they will to continue to fight for her legacy.

"Let the voice be heard from the Oklahomans that we need this law passed to help our families right now," Collings said. "This is the biggest chance we have of getting this done."

There are two more House committee meetings left to hear Steffanie's bill this session. To drum up support for Steffanie's Law, there will be a rally at noon Monday on the south steps of the Capitol.