State officials deliberate on ways to preserve Insure Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma leaders remain cautiously optimistic about preserving a popular insurance premium support program, designed and implemented in 2004 with bipartisan support, which benefits the working poor.  

This week, on May 9, Leavitt Partners, a consultant to Oklahoma’s Health Care Authority (HCA), encouraged state officials to extend Insure Oklahoma, despite the Obama Adminisration’s decision to spike the program’s Medicaid revenue stream. 

In a presentation to HCA, Leavitt’s Michael Deily recommended several possible steps to increase health insurance access for low income Oklahomans. In some scenarios, the state could revise Insure Oklahoma to meet requirements of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

After Leavitt’s “power point” presentation, Nico Gomez, chief executive officer at HCA, said he was interested in the recommendation to preserve Insure Oklahoma, “We have a state innovative program called Insure Oklahoma that we’ve had since 2004 and we’d like to figure out a way to keep that operation because it’s doing exactly what the Affordable Care Act is attempting to do but in a more responsible way.” 

However, other analysts caution against any form of “ObamaCare” implementation. Some have suggested the state decouple Insure Oklahoma from federal Medicaid funding, instead using exclusively resources from the Tobacco Settlement fund to preserve the acclaimed program that provides insurance premium assistance to approximately 30,000 of the Sooner State’s the working poor.  

In response to question from CapitolBeatOK, Gov. Fallin’s spokesman explained a comment on low income health care she made in a speech to the spring task force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Alex Weintz, communications director for the chief executive, said she would be reviewing the Leavitt Partners recommendations, but “She has not proposed using Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance, although she is aware that others have.

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