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Oklahoma Insurance Department to return nearly $1M in federal funds

Oklahoma insurance commissioner rejects federal funding for review of insurance premiums.
by Don Mecoy Published: May 18, 2011
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Federal officials have acknowledged receiving a letter from the Oklahoma Insurance Department stating that the state agency is returning nearly $1 million to conduct health insurance premium rate reviews.

“We're waiting for them to physically take the money back at this point,” agency spokesman Shawn Ashley said Tuesday.

Insurance Commissioner John Doak said the federal money was returned because “the majority of Oklahomans do not want the federal government making decisions about their health care.” Doak last month said he would return the funds, on the same day Gov. Mary Fallin declared that the state would not accept a $54.6 million federal grant for setting up a system where Oklahomans could shop for health insurance.

“This is the fulfillment of my campaign promise to protect Oklahomans by opposing ObamaCare every way I can and of the commitment I made in April to return the ObamaCare funds,” Doak said.

The $1 million grant, received in August 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, provided funding for the Insurance Department to conduct health insurance premium rate reviews to identify what the federal legislation said were “unreasonable and unjustified and/or excessive rate increases.”

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by Don Mecoy
Business Editor
Business Editor Don Mecoy has covered business news for more than a decade after earlier working on The Oklahoman's city, state and metro news desks, including a stint as city editor. He has won state and regional journalism awards for business,...
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