Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin urged to reconsider Medicaid decision

Former Oklahoma Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher joins Oklahoma House Democrats calling for Gov. Mary Fallin to expand access to Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: April 16, 2013
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Another supporter

Last week, the former chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority said he supports Medicaid expansion.

Mike Fogarty, who retired from the agency in March, said he shared factual information with Fallin's office, but never his personal opinion.

House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, called on Fallin to reconsider her decision, which he said was done for political reasons.

“The issue of health care and taking care of our state citizens is important to everyone,” he said.

Inman said one of every five Oklahomans is uninsured, resulting in hospitals across the state having to provide about $600 million a year in uncompensated care.

Federal funding

House and Senate Democrats support expanding the Medicaid program in the state, which would result in Oklahoma receiving about $8.2 billion of federal funds over 10 years to take care of nearly 200,000 additional residents, he said.

Inman said Fallin and Republican legislative leaders suggest a cut in the state's personal income tax, which would cost the state about $1.4 billion in revenue over a decade, would help stimulate Oklahoma's economy because some of that money would be invested or spent in the state.

That same argument could be made about Medicaid expansion, he said.

“What would $8.2 billion do given directly to one of the largest economic engines in the state of Oklahoma — the health care industry?” he asked.

Inman said the entire hospital system in the state stands to lose $2.9 billion if the state fails to expand Medicaid.

Inman said it is hypocritical for Republican leaders in the state not to expand Medicaid on the grounds of not wanting to receive additional federal funds because Oklahoma already annually receives $3 billion for Medicaid and more than $600 million for education.

“This Medicaid expansion will ensure that the health care of our citizens will continue to improve and not erode,” he said.

Contributing:

Zeke Campfield, Staff Writer


It is the morally and ethically right thing to do — to strive to provide health care to as many as Oklahomans as is absolutely possible.”

Dr. Mike Crutcher,
Former state health commissioner

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