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Okla. House 'morning-after' pill vote delayed

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm •  Published: February 28, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House delayed a vote Thursday on a bill that would prohibit the state's Medicaid authority from paying for emergency contraception coverage, after Speaker T.W. Shannon raised concerns that his proposal might jeopardize the program's federal funding.

Shannon's proposal would prevent the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which oversees the state's SoonerCare Medicaid program, from covering the use of the so-called "morning-after" pill. Many conservatives say they consider the pill's use to be an abortion and don't want the state supporting it.

Rep. David Derby of Owasso returned the bill to a calendar committee Thursday at Shannon's request. When it might come back up for a vote is unclear, because Derby told his colleagues the bill would be amended before being reassigned a voting date by the committee.

Shannon told reporters after the chamber adjourned for the weekend that he was concerned his bill might contradict federal Medicaid guidelines, which could put Oklahoma's federal funding for the program at risk.

"Essentially, if we want the fed-negotiated price for some prescription drugs, then we have to have an open formulary," Health Care Authority spokesman Carter Kimble said, referring to the list of medications covered by Medicaid. "If you have a closed formulary ... then you don't get federal rebate dollars towards those drugs."

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