James Martin/Flickr

A new government report says 44,129 Oklahomans have signed up for the first time or re-enrolled in health plans during the first month of the latest sign-up period under the Affordable Care Act.

The 50-state report released Tuesday is the first in the latest sign-up season under the federal health care law. It shows that more than 4 million people selected plans for the first time or re-enrolled.


Oklahoma and five other states have filed legal papers with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of their challenge against the Affordable Care Act.

Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia are challenging billions of dollars in Internal Revenue Service subsidies being handed out as part of the implementation of the law. The case is scheduled for argument in March.

Oklahoma Watch

Starting this weekend, an estimated 446,000 low-to-middle-income Oklahomans can sign up for government-subsidized health insurance for 2015 through the online marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act.

The 2015 open enrollment period begins Saturday, Nov. 15, and ends Sunday, Feb. 15. Federal officials and ACA advocates are encouraging people to complete their applications by Dec. 15 to avoid ensure their coverage begins on Jan. 1.

A recent national survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C., showed that 89 percent of uninsured people were not aware that open enrollment begins this month.

“It’s an unfortunate continuation of a trend that’s been going on for quite a while now,” Kaiser Foundation Senior Fellow Karen Politz said in a briefing with reporters. “People really aren’t that familiar with what’s in the ACA, whether it will help them, and what the rules are.”

a stack of dollar bills with a stethoscope and bottle of pills
James Martin / Flickr

The Oklahoma Insurance Department's Medicare Assistance Program is hosting free statewide events to assist seniors during the Medicare open enrollment period that runs Oct. 15-Dec. 7.

During open enrollment, Medicare-eligible consumers can sign up for coverage under a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan, as well as change their options for the coming year.

jf cherry /

More than 69,000 Oklahomans have picked health plans on the new insurance markets created by the federal health overhaul.

The federal government said Thursday that 69,221 Oklahomans signed up for a plan between Oct. 1, 2013 and March 31.

Earlier enrollment numbers showed that only 32,882 Oklahomans had chosen a plan through March 1 — well below the Obama administration's goal of 84,000 enrollees in Oklahoma.

The new enrollment numbers released Thursday by the Obama administration said about 8 million Americans have picked a plan under the new federal health program.

As cities in the southern U.S. continue to recover from the ice and snow storm that brought life to a standstill in many places this week, stories are emerging about the incredible things some people did to help out others.

Let's start Friday with one of those tales.

Harmon-y Pediatric Clinic Set To Open

Dec 8, 2013
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

The Oklahoma City Indian Clinic is seeing one of its projects come to fruition with the help of television star Mark Harmon. David Toahty, Chief Development officer for the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic credits the fund raising ability of Mark Harmon’s Celebrity Weekend for their new addition.

Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine was the only member of Oklahoma's House delegation to vote against a bill that would allow insurance companies to sell individual coverage even if it falls short of standards required under the federal health care law.

The measure passed the Republican-controlled House Friday by a vote of 261-157.Oklahoma Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, James Lankford and Markwayne Mullin all voted in favor of the legislation.

Omono / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials say 346 Oklahomans managed to enroll for health insurance last month by using the problem-filled federal website for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were even lower than recent estimates for the 36 states, including Oklahoma, that are using the federal insurance exchange.

New Data Reveals Widespread Financial Losses Among Small Oklahoma Hospitals

Oct 28, 2013
Bruce Mayhan, lab manager at Pauls Valley General Hospital, looks at a blood sample through a microscope in the hospital’s lab.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

A majority of small general hospitals in Oklahoma are losing money, and health care officials warn that some hospitals could close, be sold or cut services.

Federal financial reports for nearly every hospital in the state, obtained by Oklahoma Watch and analyzed and reported with the Tulsa World, show that in each year from 2009 to 2012, between half and three-fourths of general hospitals with fewer than 100 beds lost money. Most are in small cities or rural areas. More than half posted losses in multiple years.

Larger hospitals fared better. In each year during the four-year period, between 7 percent and 19 percent of general hospitals with 100 beds or more lost money.

stethscope on insurance forms with ballpoint pen
forwardstl / Flickr Creative Commons

More than 140 navigators have been hired in Oklahoma and are prepared to help people on Tuesday with questions about the federal marketplace. That is the first day that consumers can begin shopping, comparing and buying health insurance plans online or in person with the help of trained navigators and counselors.

Tuesday morning, the marketplace website noted that heavy traffic was making the page slow to load. The Oklahoma page took several minutes but eventually advanced to a log-in screen.

Debate is raging about Obamacare, and not just in Washington. Out here in Oklahoma we're grappling with implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Patients. Employers. Hospitals. Doctors. Insurers. All of us.

Here then are one doctor's predictions about what we will see in the short and medium term for what I see as the unfolding Obamacare era — the biggest domestic health expansion since the enactment of Medicare in 1965.

OversightAndReform / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma's five members of the U.S. House of Representatives each voted for a resolution to temporarily fund the federal government while delaying implementation of the federal health care act.

Republicans Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, James Lankford, Markwayne Mullin and Jim Bridenstine each voted for the proposal that passed the House on a 231-192 vote late Saturday.

The government is on the verge of a partial shutdown Tuesday and congressional Republicans vowed Sunday to keep using an otherwise routine government funding bill to try to attack what they call "Obamacare ."

a stack of dollar bills with a stethoscope and bottle of pills
James Martin / Flickr

Oklahomans will be able to shop for and purchase insurance on the new health insurance exchange created under the federal Affordable Care Act beginning Oct. 1. Under the law, most Americans will be required to have health insurance coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, or face a tax penalty.

Many people are uncertain how much it will cost to purchase insurance through the exchange, or if they will be eligible for subsidized coverage or Medicaid.

For Many Oklahomans, The Doctor Is Not In

Sep 2, 2013
Dr. Maha Sultan, who practices in Frederick in southwest Oklahoma, is one of only three licensed doctors in Tillman County.
Frederick Press-Leader

Despite efforts to increase the number of doctors in rural areas, many Oklahoma counties are still sorely lacking physicians to provide sufficient care to their residents.

Is there a doctor shortage in your county?

Seventy-two of the state’s 77 counties, or 94 percent, are designated by the federal government as shortage areas for primary health professionals; 30 have 10 or fewer doctors of any kind. The five counties not considered shortage areas are Oklahoma, Johnston, Canadian, Rogers and Wagoner, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.