Oklahoma Health Care Authority analyzes impact of High Court decision

OKLAHOMA CITY – In response to inquiries from CapitolBeatOK, officials at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, a key state agency for development of policy in the state of Oklahoma, issued a 200-word analysis of the Thursday (June 28) U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the controversial federal health care law.

The agency sent this statement: “The Supreme Court ruled that states have a choice whether to cover additional people through their Medicaid programs. We expect the federal government will issue additional guidance as this ruling is reviewed. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority will look towards Oklahoma’s leadership for direction as to future action.

“Expanding Oklahoma’s SoonerCare program under the federal guidance would make health care benefits available to an estimated 200,000 newly qualified adults, aged 19 to 64, with household incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, a single adult could make up to $15,414 a year, or a family of three would qualify with a household income at or below $26,344. 

“If the state chooses to expand SoonerCare in 2014, the first three years of benefits for the new population would be paid completely by the federal government. Beginning in 2017, the federal government’s share would be 95 percent and would taper to 90 percent in 2020.

“The federal government currently pays for about 64 percent of the SoonerCare and Insure Oklahoma programs – in state fiscal year 2012 this equates to about $3.25 billion of the total $5.2 billion budget.  In SFY12, SoonerCare and Insure Oklahoma has provided health care benefits to more than 990,000 Oklahomans.”

Mike Fogarty runs the authority. Jo Kilgore, the authority’s information officer, provided the statement to CapitolBeatOK. 

In comments to reporters in the Blue room Thursday morning, Governor Mary Fallin estimated that implementation of what is popularly known as “ObamaCare” would cost Oklahoma half a billion dollars. 

Correction: In the original version of this story, we listed Mr. Fogarty as Secretary of Health; that position is actually held by Terry Cline. We regret the error.