Oklahoma's Medicaid program loses $50M in funding

The amount of money the federal government provides for Oklahoma's Medicaid program is decreasing, in part, because of an improved state economy.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: October 10, 2013 at 9:45 pm •  Published: October 10, 2013

Oklahoma's Medicaid program will have $50 million less in federal money to serve low-income residents in the coming fiscal year.

The reduction in federal money is, in part, because Oklahoma's economy has improved, health leaders said Thursday.

The amount of money that the federal government provides each state for Medicaid, including Oklahoma, is based on a formula that incorporates a state's per capita income.

Nico Gomez, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO, said it's good news that Oklahoma's economy is doing well and that the state's per capita income has improved, but it does result in the reduction of federal money for the program.

“The logic behind that is Medicaid is a state and federal partnership — both governments put in dollars to support the program,” Gomez said. “And there's the federal government saying, ‘If your economy is doing well, there's going to be fewer people who need the program so we don't need to send you as much federal dollars to support it.'”

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority administers SoonerCare, the state's Medicaid program that provides health care services to low-income children and some adults. About 792,000 Oklahomans, including 511,000 children, are enrolled in SoonerCare.

Agency officials learned about the reduction last week. Because of the federal government's partial shutdown, the agency doesn't have formal confirmation of the reduction. However, Gomez said he believes that's the number they can expect.

At the authority's board meeting Thursday, board member Tony Armstrong expressed concern about the reduction.

“We have to come up with a lot of money in a very short amount of time, and it's going to be difficult, but we've been through this before,” Armstrong said during the meeting.

The amount of money that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority gets from the federal government for Medicaid is based off a formula known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, medicine and fitness, among other things. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a news-editorial and broadcast production degree. Outside of work, she enjoys riding her bike, taking pictures of...
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We have to come up with a lot of money in a very short amount of time, and it's going to be difficult, but we've been through this before.”

Tony Armstrong,
Oklahoma Health Care Authority

board member

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