Sunday, April 25, 2021


Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     Physicians historically take an oath of ethics, known as the Hippocratic Oath.  It requires new doctors to swear to uphold specific ethical standards.  Those include the principles of medical confidentiality and non-maleficence, which means ‘do no harm.’  The original oath, which was rooted in ancient Greece, stated explicitly the prohibition of abortion and euthanasia.  Many modern oaths have eliminated the ‘do no harm’ clause to excuse physicians who perform abortions.  The healer becomes the  

     The Oklahoma legislation passed two pro-life bills along partisan lines and sent them to the governor for his signature.  HB #2441, authored by Sen. Julie Daniels, (R-Bartlesville) and Rep. Todd Russ, (R-Cordell) would prevent abortions being done on an unborn baby who has a detectable heartbeat.   A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 5 ½ weeks after conception.  Violators who performed an abortion after a heartbeat was detected could be charged with homicide.

      HB#1102, authored by Sen. Julie Daniels, (R-Bartlesville) and Rep. Jim Olsen, (R-Roland) would classify the performance of an abortion as ‘unprofessional conduct’ by a physician and could result in the loss of their medical license for at least a year.

      Governor Stitt has until Friday to sign or veto the two bills.  If he does nothing, the two bills will automatically become law.  The governor has stated in the past he would sign any pro-life legislation that comes across his desk. Two observations:

     First, abortion is the scourge of America.  Since 1973 when the unconstitutional Roe vs. Wade became law, over 62 million babies have been aborted.  That is over ten times more than those killed in the Holocaust.  More babies are killed in the womb in America (1 ½ million) each year than the number of lives lost in all the wars in our nation’s history.  John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, said "Some nations have given parents the power of life and death over their children. But here in America, we have denied the power of life and death to parents." With President Trump’s recent appointments of literalists to the U.S. Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade may be overturned in the future, but until that happens 3,000 babies are murdered every day in America!

     Second, life begins at conception.  Until the mid-twentieth century, that was a widely accepted truth, but   The American College of Pediatricians concur with the body of scientific evidence and believe life begins when the sperm and egg bind to each other in a process of fusion and a single hybrid cell called a zygote is created.  Dr. Alfred Bongioanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania said: “I submit that human life is present from conception to adulthood and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life.” For Christians, abortion is not a matter of a woman’s right to choose.  It is a matter of the life or death of a human being made in the image of God.  

     King David wrote in Psalm 139 that God the Creator knit him together in his mother’s womb.  In Exodus 21, the penalty for causing the death of a baby in the womb was the same as that of someone who committed murder. 

  Medicine is a wonderful field and doctors have the responsibility to protect life.  Physicians should not play God.  God is responsible for all life and they should not choose to end an innocent life.  These two bills will force abortion providers to think about the consequences of killing a baby in the womb.  Do no harm medicus!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Price Fixing is not Free Market!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


By Steve Fair

     More than 200,000 Oklahoma adults suffer from type 1 diabetes, including my wife.  Diagnosed at age ten, she has lived with the disease for 59 years.  Type 1 diabetics requires daily usage of insulin.  Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Oklahoma.  Oklahoma has the fourth highest age-adjusted diabetes death rate in the nation.  Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and early death. 

     Sen. Frank Simpson, (R-Ardmore) and Rep. Randy Worthen, (R-Lawton) authored House Bill#1019, which passed the Senate last week 32-15.  It passed the House 94-2.  Simpson’s granddaughter lost her life to complications related to Type 1 diabetes and he is passionate about helping diabetics.  The bill now heads to the governor’s desk where it is expected to be signed.  Three observations:

     First, a recent U.S. Senate report found the current convoluted drug pricing system drives price increases.  The report from the offices of Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Wyden, (D- Ore) found Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, the two largest insulin producers in America, closely monitored each others pricing and matched or topped any increase within hours or days of each other.  In other words- price fixing. 

     The two Senators introduced legislation aimed at capping seniors out of pocket costs for drugs covered by Medicare.  It would also limit price increases on a drug to the rate of inflation.  It did not get a floor vote, because many Republicans oppose it because they feel the bill is too regulatory and goes against a free market. “There is clearly something broken when a product like insulin that has been on the market longer than most people have been alive skyrockets in price,” Grassley said.

     Second, the report blamed pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) as part of the reason for the high prices for insulin.  These middlemen negotiate with drug companies on behalf of insurance plans, large employers and other payers for discounts.  PMB’s decide is a certain drug will be covered by a plan.  Drug makers offering large rebates have a better chance of being covered by a health plan.  PBMs charge fees and paid a percentage of re rebate based on the drug’s ‘list’ price.  Insulin producers are thereby incentivized to increase the price so PBMs can get larger rebates.  “This industry is anything but a free market when PBMs spur drug makers to hike list prices in order to greater rebates and fees,” Grassley said.         

     Third, there is a reason insulin is so expensive?  Here are the main three: (1) Only three companies control 90% of the insulin market worldwide.  In the past 15 years, the price of insulin has tripled and the three producers raise prices together.  We need more insulin producers in the U.S. to bring the price down.  (2) There is no generic insulin.  Insulin is a biologic rather than chemical.  It can’t be produced generic in the same way as other drug.  Creating a generic insulin costs nearly as much as making a new drug.  Because of that cost, the few insulin generics available cost just 10-15% less than the branded product. (3) The ‘evergreening’ of the patents on insulin are loopholes in the patent system.  They allow insulin producers to keep patents longer than the normal 20-year period.  For example, Sanofi, the maker of Lantus has created the potential for a competition free monopoly for 37 years.

     If signed by the governor, HB#1019 will cap the price in Oklahoma for a 30-day supply of insulin to $30 for each covered prescription.  Several other states have passed similar legislation. HB#1019 will not only save many diabetics money, but it could save their life.

Sunday, April 11, 2021


Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     Oklahoma HB# 1569 is known as the Oklahoma Play to Learn Act.  If it becomes law, it will encourage public educators to create play-based learning opportunities, in the realm of dancing, art, music and drama to teach kids in elementary school.  Authored by Rep. Jacob Rosecrant, (D-Norman) and Sen. Adam Pugh, (R-Edmond), the bill passed the House Education committee 14-0.  On March 23rd it passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 76-16.  All 16 nay floor votes were Republicans.  HB#1569 was passed by the Senate Education committee last week 10-2 and now is headed for a floor vote.  If it is passed there, it then moves to the governor’s desk.  Three observations:

     First, play based learning is not a new concept.  It was used in the 1700s.  Back then, educational or instructive toys were simple, but they were used to stimulate learning.  They often simplified or miniaturized objects used by adults.  Most early childhood instructors across the state already use play to learn techniques in their classrooms.   There are no current restrictions on teachers in Oklahoma using dance, music, art or drama to teach young children in school.

     Second, why is this bill necessary?  Is there a looming problem with a local school board in Oklahoma imposing a ‘no play’ at school rule?  It wouldn’t appear so.  So why is a specific bill addressing play to learn necessary?   Some believe HB#1569 and ‘play to learn’ is a conspiracy rooted in UN Agenda 21, the Gates Foundation, UNICEF and the left.  It’s true all of those mentioned advocate ‘play to learn,’ but there is no evidence of those organization’s involvement in the language of HB #1569.

     Third, education is changing.  With the advent of COVID-19, online/distance learning has replaced traditional classroom education.  That is likely going to be permanent.  Education leaders need to be proactive, get ahead of the curve, and embrace change.  In 2019, Bill Gates said textbooks are obsolete and software should replace them.  He also advocated a less structured environment for learning.   Both of those would empower students, pique curiosity and improve interest in learning.  Gates has some liberal far-out ideas, but these aren’t two of them. 

     Why should HB#1569 be killed in the Senate?  It appears innocuous.  Two reasons; (a) it is not needed.  Nothing HB#1569 validates is under threat.  No school board or administration has banned using play to learn in their districts.  At best it’s a feel-good bill.  If there is not a nefarious motive, then the defeat of HB#1569 will mean nothing.  (b) it doesn’t move the needle in education.  Oklahoma still ranks in the bottom 10 in test scores nationally (#43).  Last year, over 50% of the Oklahoma state government budget was spent on education.  Three years ago, historic raises were given to teachers and administrators with no significant improvement in test scores. It appears lots of playing is going on in school now.    

   Oklahoma’s whole structure of secondary education needs to be radically reformed, with the goal to get more money to the classroom, where it really makes a difference.  When that change happens, ‘play to learn’ will flourish without the passing of a law. Contact your state senator and encourage them to vote No on HB#1569.  It’s heartwarming, but unnecessary.

Sunday, April 4, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial

Caveat emptor Voters!

by Steve Fair

     Oklahoma Senate Bill #947, if signed into law, would require initiative petitions to include if the proposal would have a fiscal impact on the state.  It would also require the potential funding source.  SB #947 is authored by Sen. Paul Rosino, (R-OKC) and Rep. Tammy West, (R-OKC).  It was passed by the A&B House committee last week along partisan lines.  “Several of the state questions that have passed in recent years have come at great cost to state taxpayers,” West said. “Voters, of course, would still be allowed to petition for whatever measures they choose, but this would require they state the potential impact to taxpayers and specify the source of such funding. If taxpayers are going to be asked to raise taxes to pay for something added to state law, they should be made aware.”

SB#947 now will faces a floor vote in the House, where it is expected to pass, before it goes to the governor to be signed into law.  Three observations:

     First, this is a much-needed change.  Several recent State Questions have been passed by voters that financially impacted state taxpayers.  For example, SQ# 781, which passed in 2016, directed the state to deposit money into a fund used by county governments to provide substance abuse and mental health services, but it didn’t specify how much or where that money would come from.  Those who signed the petition or those who voted were told just the ‘concept.’ The ‘details’ on how to pay for the concept was left to the legislature.  Full disclosure in the initiative petition process to the citizens who pay the bills is long past due.

     Second, requiring fiscal impact on initiative petitions should not be a partisan issue?  SB#947 has been opposed by legislative Democrats on every vote- in committee and the floor.  Not one Democrat in the state house has supported the bill throughout the process.  Shouldn’t all citizens, no matter their Party affiliation, know beforehand what a proposal is projected to cost?  The partisanship and polarization seen in Washington has seemingly made its way to 23rd and Lincoln. 

     Third, if this becomes law, ballots will be longer.  One of the provisions in #947 is that it increases the number of words on the ballot from 200 to 300.  That will require voters to ‘study’ the ballot and the issue before casting a vote.  Far too many Oklahoma voters pay little attention to the State Questions or the Judicial Retention sections on the ballot.    Many state questions pass and result in consequences, fiscal and otherwise, that voters did not anticipate or intend.  Ignorance of what’s on the ballot is a poor excuse. 

     Caveat emptor is Latin for ‘let the buyer beware.’  In business, it means the buyer purchases at his own risk with no warranty in the contract.  It implies a warning to buyers the goods they are buying are ‘as is’ or subject to defects.  Voters should always be on guide and approach any state question with the same apprehensive and suspicion they do when making a major personal expenditure.   They should exercise the same due diligence in voting as they do in a business transaction.   In business, how much a good or service costs is fundamental to the transaction.  SB#947 simply requires that same information be provided on state questions.  Encourage your state representative to support SB#947.