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'It's health care, not welfare'

Oklahoman Published: February 25, 2013

Expanding Oklahoma's Medicaid program would benefit the state and provide millions of dollars in state tax revenue, a state health leader said last week.

The Frederick Press-Leader reports that Mike Fogarty, the retiring CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, told a group that expanding Medicaid would provide $522 million in new state tax revenue and $333 million in state costs replaced by new federal revenue.

During his presentation, titled "Health Care, not Welfare," Fogarty said Gov. Fallin and some lawmakers were opposed to expanding Medicaid because they haven’t studied all the numbers.

In November, Fallin announced that Oklahoma would not expand its Medicaid program, one of the key elements of the 2010 health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."

Fallin rejected Medicaid expansion, saying it would further Oklahoma's reliance on federal money that may or may not be available in the future, given the fiscal problems facing the federal government.

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