Insure Oklahoma is the kind of state-based health care option the federal government should be supporting, she said.
“For years, Insure Oklahoma has been successfully used by thousands of small businesses to help their employees purchase insurance, and it’s been a success for tens of thousands of families of modest means who would be uninsured without it,” Fallin said.
‘The state’s model’
Oklahoma implemented the Insure Oklahoma employer-sponsored insurance in November 2005, targeting about 50,000 low-wage working adults in Oklahoma, according to the authority.
Nico Gomez, the CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, said Insure Oklahoma is a program created for Oklahomans by Oklahomans and is an option if Oklahoma lawmakers wanted to increase coverage for other Oklahomans.
“(The extension) maintains that infrastructure so if policymakers want to improve the program in the future, it’s available,” Gomez said.
When Gomez was asked if Oklahoma would be discussing extensions for Insure Oklahoma had state leaders expanded the Medicaid program — a key element of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare — Gomez said expanding the state’s Medicaid program is not an option right now.
“That decision has been made, so right now, to help low-income Oklahomans purchase health insurance, Insure Oklahoma is the state’s model,” Gomez said.
Gomez said his hope is that the federal government will extend Insure Oklahoma far beyond 2015.
“Our focus now is — how do we start to rebuild the brand and the program where folks are looking at Insure Oklahoma as a viable option again?” Gomez said.
CONTRIBUTING: RANDY ELLIS,