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Oklahoma's governor will talk about health insurance exchange with GOP peers

Gov. Mary Fallin will make an announcement on Oklahoma's participation in the health insurance exchange after meeting with Republican governors later this week in Las Vegas, her spokesman says.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: November 13, 2012
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Before going to either conference for governors, Fallin leaves Tuesday for Arizona to speak to the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix. Fallin, along with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, will speak Tuesday evening. The event benefits the Goldwater Institute, a nonprofit advocacy and research organization that supports policies favoring lower taxes, limited government spending and school choice.

Fallin encouraged lawmakers for four months this year to cut the state's top personal income tax rate, but legislators and the governor were unable to reach a final agreement before the session ended in late May.

The Goldwater Institute supports Fallin's decision to return a $54.6 million federal grant last year that would have been used to set up an insurance exchange system. Fallin and Republican legislative leaders at first accepted the grant, then rejected the offer after hearing complaints from Republicans and conservatives in the state. Oklahomans in 2010 voted to opt out of the federal health care law.

Travel arrangements

The Goldwater Institute is paying for Fallin's transportation to Phoenix, Weintz said. Fallin is not being paid for her appearance.

Fallin will leave Phoenix for the Republican Governors Association annual conference. Costs of that trip will be paid from the governor's campaign funds, Weintz said.

The trip to San Diego for the National Governors Association meeting and the return flight to Oklahoma City will be paid with state funds, he said. The state usually pays for trips to the National Governors Association because the governor attends in an official capacity as the state's chief executive.