Oklahoma Watch
7:45 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Oklahoma Medicaid Providers Face More Possible Cuts

Images Money Flickr Creative Commons

In its second round of sweeping budget cuts, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority on Tuesday will consider reducing payments to doctors and other Medicaid providers by $159 million, effective immediately.

The authority will meet in special session to vote on provider reimbursement cuts affecting up to 13,932 physicians, 2,097 advanced practice nurses, 1,561 therapists, 1,285 physician assistants, 1,277 pharmacies, 1,255 personal care providers, 1,133 dentists and several thousand other providers.

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Business
5:16 am
Tue July 1, 2014

How Many Companies Will Be Touched By Court's Contraception Ruling?

The Supreme Court said protecting the free-exercise rights of owners of corporations, such as Hobby Lobby Stores, protects religious liberty.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 5:46 pm

When the Supreme Court ruled Monday that "closely held" corporations don't have to pay for workers' contraception, you may have assumed the decision applied only to family-owned businesses.

Wrong. An estimated 9 out of 10 businesses are "closely held."

However, some benefits experts question just how many of those companies would want to assert religious views.

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Health
6:16 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Insure Oklahoma Health Care Plan Given Another Year

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr.com

The federal government will let the state operate its Insure Oklahoma health care plan for another year, keeping alive a program that provides coverage to about 19,000 of the state's working poor and their families.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Monday that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services extended the program through Dec. 31, 2015. It was set to expire at the end of the year.

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State Employee Pay
4:55 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Pay Raise For Oklahoma's Most Underpaid Workers

Credit Nic McPhee / Flickr.com

More than 12,000 of Oklahoma's most underpaid state workers are getting a boost in pay under one of dozens of bills passed by the Legislature that is set to become law.

The pay raise bill is one of 60 measures approved by the Legislature this year that take effect on Tuesday, the first day of the state's 2015 fiscal year. Among the other bills that go into effect on Tuesday is the omnibus general appropriations bill that divvies up the state's $7.1 billion budget.

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Shots - Health News
4:00 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Ruling Cuts Into Contraceptive Mandate

Customers walk into a Hobby Lobby store in Oklahoma City on Monday.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 3:57 pm

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the Supreme Court allowed a key exemption to the health law's contraception coverage requirements when it ruled that closely held for-profit businesses could assert a religious objection to the Obama administration's regulations. What does it mean? Here are some questions and answers about the case.

What did the court's ruling do?

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Drought
1:48 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Could Limiting Evaporation Help With Drought?

Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16, 2011. (Lower Colorado River Authority)

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:06 pm

Most of the southwestern U.S. is in the midst of some level of drought. Parts of California, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas are all seeing extreme drought, as rainfall and winter snowpacks have been far below average.

One of the biggest factors affecting water supplies in these hot, dry places is evaporation. Reservoirs can lose as much water to evaporation as the water that’s actually pumped out of them for drinking water.

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Supreme Court
1:33 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Oklahoma Congressmen Praise Hobby Lobby Ruling

The Oklahoma Congressional Delegation
Credit U.S. Rep. James Lankford / Facebook

Members of Oklahoma's Republican congressional delegation are praising the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in a case involving Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby.

U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe issued statements Monday in support of the court's decision and praising the company's owners, the Green family. U.S. Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Tom Cole, and James Lankford also hailed the ruling as one in favor of religious liberty.

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Here & Now
12:46 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Lawyer, Women's Group React To Birth Control Ruling

A Hobby Lobby store is seen on June 30, 2014, in Plantation, Florida. Today in Washington, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a suit brought by the owners of Hobby Lobby and furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties, ruling that companies cannot be forced to offer insurance coverage for birth control methods that the family-owned private companies object to for religious reasons. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:15 am

The U.S. Supreme Court wrapped up its term with a bang today, issuing two major decisions.

In one case, the court ruled that closely-held corporations, usually family-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby — the national arts and crafts chain that brought the suit — cannot be required to provide coverage for birth control methods that they object to for religious reasons.

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OETA
11:52 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Oklahoma Forum: Primary Election Wrap-up

We analyze Tuesday’s Oklahoma Primary Election results and discuss campaign strategy and issues for the 2014 election season with:

  • Keith Gaddie, Chair, Political Science Department, University of Oklahoma
     
  • Sheryl Lovelady, former political pollster and campaign strategist  
     
  • Nate Webb, political analyst and former Congressional Chief of Staff for Mary Fallin
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Oklahoma Voices
11:04 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Oklahoma's Early Banking An Era Of 'Wild West Capitalism'

Credit University of Oklahoma Press

Overzealous railroad builders and near-constant debates over the merits of gold vs. silver led to the worst financial crisis the United States had ever seen toward the end of the 19th century.

By the time the dust had settled after the Panic of 1893, the U.S. comptroller of the currency's annual report indicated 573 national, state, private, and savings banks as well as loan, trust and mortgage companies failed during the year.

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