Oklahoma eyes Medicaid expansion: 4 things to know

Oklahoma is considering Medicaid expansion after years of resistance due to a $1.3 billion budget deficit caused by low oil prices and overspending, Forbes reports.

Here are four things to know about Oklahoma's proposal for Medicaid expansion.

1. If Oklahoma expands Medicaid, the state could move 175,000 women and children into subsidized coverage while opening Medicaid to 628,000 working-age adults.

2. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) is calling for a cigarette tax increase of $1.50 per pack, a 146 percent rate increase, to help fund the state's share of expansion, according to Forbes. By doing so, the publication notes the governor is parting with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment she made to Oklahoma taxpayers to "oppose and veto any and all efforts to raise taxes."

3. According to The American Journal of Managed Care, state lawmakers who had previously resisted Medicaid expansion said the change is needed due to current realities. Oklahoma's Medicaid chief, Nico Gomez, said without expansion, rural providers would not survive and would have to relocate, the journal notes.

4. Oklahoma's decision to consider Medicaid expansion comes months after hospitals launched an initiative to encourage lawmakers to broaden healthcare coverage under Insure Oklahoma, a state-run insurance program that helps provide health insurance to small business employees, as well as people who don't have access to employer-sponsored insurance.

 

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