Even After Implementation Talk Continues In Oklahoma Over Affordable Care Act

Oct 7, 2013

Even though key features of the federal Affordable Care Act are now in place, the conversations continue over the law's implementation in Oklahoma.

The Republican-controlled state government continues to object to the federal mandates that are part of the new law.

Oklahoma state government, led by Gov. Mary Fallin, declined to set up a state-run exchange or accept additional Medicaid funding from the federal government.

The federal government is in charge of  Oklahoma's exchange that is now open. Washington also provided a waiver for Insure Oklahoma to continue to serve people with incomes under the federal poverty line, but it won't serve them all.

"The governor has been very, very clear about this. She wants people to have access to accurate information, for people who are interested in that," Terry Cline, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health.

On this edition of Oklahoma Voices, a recent public panel hosted by Oklahoma Watch, addressed many of the issues surrounding the exchanges and the health care law.

The panel, came one week before the health care exchanges opened (find reporting on the law here).

The conversation aired on KGOU ranged from the basics of the insurance exchange to the future of Insure Oklahoma and the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on hospitals.  The panelists were Andrew Rice, Executive Director of the Variety Care Foundation, and Terry Cline, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health.


OETA also reported on a range of issues surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Oklahoma with guests Nico Gomez, chief executive of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority; Andrew Rice, former state senator and executive director of the Variety Care Foundation; Matt Ball of Americans for Prosperity; and, Dr. Katherine Scheirman, state director of Doctors for America.

Oklahoma Watch profiled 5 different Oklahomans, reviewing their life circumstances and the estimated costs of purchasing health insurance under the ACA.

The LA Times profiled Choctaw County where there folks there have apprehensions about the new law, and also explores the law suit against ACA by Oklahoma's Attorney General, Scott Pruitt.

In dozens of interviews here, many said they feared they would be forced to buy insurance they couldn't afford. Some said they were told (erroneously) that insurance penalties would come out of their Social Security checks; others said they'd heard the law meant they'd soon have to travel several hundred miles to see a doctor.

There were also dueling opinion pieces in the Tulsa World. One from Sen. Tom Coburn and Jonathan Small argues Oklahoma did the right thing by refusing the federal funding for expanding Medicaid because the federal government might not always provide the amount of funding detailed by the ACA.

Another one  from David Blatt and Robert J. LaFortune notes  the additional Medicaid funding would cover Oklahomans under the federal poverty line who are not covered by Insure Oklahoma and ultimately would increase revenues to the state because of a healthier work force.


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