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Gov. Fallin needs to act on long-lingering Medicaid, health exchange issues

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: November 12, 2012

Obama's re-election dashed any hopes for a repeal and left the state staring at a Friday deadline to submit its plan for a state exchange. States that don't create their own exchanges face the prospect of having the federal government construct one instead.

Fallin's spokesman says the governor will make her decision that's “best for Oklahoma” and not necessarily make one “as quickly as possible.” But this issue has been in play for nearly two years!

As approved by Congress, Obamacare also called for states to expand their Medicaid rolls as a way to insure more Americans. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer said forced expansion was unconstitutional, but it gave the states the option to expand.

Those who favor expansion say it's the morally correct thing to do because it would mean more medical coverage for the state's poorest citizens, and that not expanding would only leave Oklahoma taxpayers funding expansions for other states. Meanwhile opponents, including U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, say among other things that expansion would result in higher taxes, strain the state budget and shrink the private insurance market.

A Tulsa health care provider said he's encouraged that Fallin continues to mull the Medicaid question. “She can take all the time that she needs to make an informed decision,” he told the Tulsa World.

But really, she can't. The governor needs to act on these two important and lingering issues.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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