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Insure Oklahoma

Caroline Halter/KGOU

In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley interview Kevin Corbett, who recently left the private sector to run a state agency charged with ensuring all Oklahomans have health care. Corbett reflects on his transition and the possibility of Medicaid expansion. 

State Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, on the floor of the Oklahoma House in Oklahoma City, March 2, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The Oklahoma House rejected a proposed $1.50 per-pack tax on cigarettes to help shore up the state's health care system.

Updated May 19, 10:36 a.m.

House Bill 3210 failed on a vote of 59-40 against the measure even after House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, held the vote open for more than two hours Wednesday night to fix what he called a “health care disaster.” Republicans blaming Democrats for the bill's failure.

Mike Carter, CEO of the Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center in Poteau, during an April 13, 2016 press conference at the state Capitol.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Hospital and nursing home administrators urged the Oklahoma legislature Wednesday to increase the tobacco tax by $1.50 per pack of cigarettes as way to stave off a proposed 25 percent cut to the Medicaid reimbursement rate.

They also announced support for a plan to expand the state’s Insure Oklahoma program and accept federal healthcare dollars.

Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center CEO Mike Carter says a cut to the Medicaid reimbursement rate would devastate his hospital.

State Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, left, speaks to attendees at a presentation by Oklahoma Hospital Association President Craig Jones. Jones and the OHA are recommending the expansion of Insure Oklahoma with money originally intended to expand Medicaid.
Dale Denwalt / The Journal Record

When Gov. Mary Fallin rejected federal funds to expand Medicaid, she said the plan would have cost the state millions over the next decade. But the Oklahoma Hospital Association said this week that taking the same money for another purpose would save millions.

Instead of putting the money toward Medicaid coverage, the OHA wants to give it to Insure Oklahoma, a state-run insurance program originally designed for small businesses.

A state marketing campaign for Insure Oklahoma includes six billboards along interstate highways.
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

The social media blitz started in late July. The radio and TV spots showed up in mid-August, along with six billboards placed along key interstate highways. A sleeker website will be unveiled soon.

The message: Insure Oklahoma is still open for business, and ready to grow.

The $450,000 marketing campaign comes after five years of steady shrinkage in the 10-year-old, tax-supported health insurance program for Oklahoma’s working poor.

Insure Oklahoma logo
www.insureoklahoma.org

State and tribal leaders in Oklahoma are exploring opportunities for a federal waiver that could mean health insurance for more than 40,000 low-income uninsured tribal members in the state.

While state leaders oppose a Medicaid expansion offered under the federal health care law, this latest idea to expand Insure Oklahoma would involve no state funds.

University of Minnesota political scientist Lawrence Jacobs during a Nov. 10, 2014 luncheon at the Jim Thorpe Association and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Over the weekend, millions of Americans had the opportunity to sign up for health insurance as the annual enrollment window opened for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

University of Minnesota political scientist Lawrence Jacobs traveled to Oklahoma City last week to speak at an Oklahoma Policy Institute luncheon. He argued state and federal officials would soon shift discussions away from an outright repeal of the healthcare plan.

Oklahoma Forum: Medicaid And Insure Oklahoma

Sep 8, 2014

Oklahoma Forum host Dick Pryor discusses recent changes in SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, and Insure Oklahoma with Nico Gomez, Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

The one-year extension announced by Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday keeps Insure Oklahoma on life support through the end of 2015. In her statement, the governor talked about buying more time to negotiate a permanent place for Insure Oklahoma — but nothing about expanding coverage.

Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

The federal government will let the state continue to operate its Insure Oklahoma program while it considers expanding Medicaid and taking a greater amount of federal money to insure the poor.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Friday morning that the waiver for Insure Oklahoma would be for one year.

Gov. Mary Fallin prepares to deliver her 2013 State of the State address, flanked by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, and House Speaker T.W. Shannon.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin says she won't include the fate of Insure Oklahoma as a topic for a special legislative session if one is called.  

The Tulsa World reports that a spokesman for Fallin told the paper Tuesday in an email that the health insurance program wouldn't be considered.

Oklahoma has submitted a plan to the federal government to end the program.