NEWS FLASH: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin rejects federal money for health exchange, state will build insurance information network

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced late this morning (Thursday, April 14) that the Sooner State will not use a $54 million federal grant to design an Oklahoma health insurance exchange. In place of earlier plans to create an exchange using the grant, the House of Representatives has undertaken to design a health information network that will be funded with a combination of state money and private resources. A governing board for the network will consist of seven members and be chaired by the state Commissioner of Insurance, with a majority of members coming from the private sector rather than government.

House Speaker Kris Steele told reporters the new system will cost “a whole lot less” than $54 million. He said the new approach will incorporate a determination to avoid entanglement with the new federal health care law, which is widely known as “ObamaCare” among both critics and supporters. He said his goal remained to build an Oklahoma-based information network to help reach the approximately 18 percent of Oklahomans not presently under health insurance.

As the day advances, CapitolBeatOK will provide more details and analysis of this developing story.