Growing Support for Medicaid Expansion in Oklahoma to Prevent Provider Cuts
May 18, 2016 03:48 PM
Oklahoma’s state legislature, with the support of Republican Governor Mary Fallin, is reportedly considering legislation that would expand its Medicaid program in order to bring in new funding from the federal government and prevent significant cuts to providers. While state Republicans had previously objected to the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, Governor Fallin and Republicans in the legislature now support it as Oklahoma faces a $1.3 billion budget shortfall.
“Businesses have had a tough go with the downturn in the energy sector. The revenues of the state have suffered,” Governor Fallin said at a press conference earlier this year. The budget shortfall has required the state agencies to reduce spending. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OKHCA), which manages the state’s Medicaid program, had recently proposed that providers would face cuts of up to 25 percent in Medicaid payments from the state.
Now, OKHCA is proposing that the state expand Medicaid rather than instituting the payment cuts to providers. The plan, beginning next year, would move 175,000 people from the state Medicaid rolls to the federal health exchange, allowing the state to add roughly the same amount of currently uninsured individuals back onto its Medicaid rolls. By doing so, the plan would allow the state to qualify for extra money offered by the federal government.
The move would make Oklahoma the latest state to adopt the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. So far, 30-plus states and the District of Columbia have implemented or are implementing Medicaid expansion. NAHC has long worked to expand access to home and community-based services in state Medicaid programs. The National Medicaid Action Council, an affiliate of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, recently launched in order to influence the improvement and expansion of home and community-based services under the Medicaid program.