How does new health care law impact OK? | Health
OKLAHOMA CITY — State lawmakers will now have to make a few tough decisions after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Governor Mary Fallin and other state leaders were waiting for the decision before implementing major parts of the law.
Last year, Governor Fallin rejected $54 million in federal money to help pay for the health insurance exchange.
“I don’t think it was a mistake to turn back federal money. I think it was the right decision for the state of Oklahoma, but once again we are going to see what our options are,” said Governor Fallin.
The Oklahoma Democratic Party was very critical of that decision to reject the federal money.
“They are in bad shape as far as having to replace that $54 million in federal money that they could have had and they were shortsighted in not accepting it and they put politics before common sense,” said Wallace Collins, chair of OK Democratic Party.
It’s also unclear if the state will expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 200,000 uninsured Oklahomans.
The Supreme Court ruled that part of the health care law is optional.
“What this ruling did today it provided some flexibility to states to choose to expand to cover more adults in the future,” said Nico Gomez with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
Although the President’s plan covers the initial cost to expand Medicaid coverage, state officials believe Oklahoma will need an additional $500 million to pay for it through 2020.
According to officials, if the state chooses to expand SoonerCare in 2014, the first three years of benefits would be paid completely by the federal government. By 2017, the federal government’s share would drop to 95 percent and would then decrease to 90 percent by 2020.
Gov. Fallin does not expect to call for a special session of the legislature to address how the state will move forward.