Final 12 months’s vote to increase Oklahoma’s Medicaid program will present the state with a half-billion-dollar windfall because of the just lately handed federal stimulus invoice.
Oklahoma Well being Care Authority officers confirmed this week that the state will qualify for a provision within the American Rescue Plan Act that provides a brand new incentive for the 12 states which have but to increase their Medicaid applications.
Final June, voters narrowly authorized State Query 802, which can lengthen well being protection to an estimated 200,000 Oklahomans. The enlargement formally takes impact July 1.
Since Oklahoma was thought of a non-expansion state when the invoice handed earlier this month, Oklahoma Well being Care Authority Chief Monetary Officer Aaron Morris mentioned federal authorities have instructed the state that Oklahoma will qualify for the inducement.
“We had not heard till the primary model of the invoice happened that (the inducement) was shifting ahead,” he mentioned. “So it’s welcome information and good timing.”
The brand new incentive seeks to entice remaining non-expansion states to rethink by making solely these states eligible for a 5-percentage-point enhance within the matching price the federal authorities offers states for his or her common or conventional Medicaid program.
The improved funding lasts for 2 years, beginning when a state begins the enlargement.
For Oklahoma, Morris mentioned they estimate this may usher in $500 million over the two-year interval with the brand new enhanced price taking impact July 1. A Kaiser Household Basis report tasks Oklahoma will obtain barely extra — $520 million — over the 2 years.
The American Rescue Plan Act was handed in Congress alongside get together traces. All seven members of Oklahoma’s all-Republican congressional delegation voted towards the invoice.
State lawmakers, in the meantime, haven’t but mentioned how they hope to spend — or save — the beforehand unanticipated cash. Legislative leaders have cautioned beforehand that they don’t wish to use one-time funds to pay for the enlargement, which has an estimated annual price ticket of $164 million.
Other than the funding difficulty, lawmakers are additionally reviewing whether or not to problem Gov. Kevin Stitt’s push to denationalise the state’s Medicaid program by outsourcing affected person administration to for-profit firms.
Which means state leaders nonetheless have a number of huge selections to make within the coming weeks. Lawmakers have till Could 28 to conclude this 12 months’s session.
Trevor Brown has been an Oklahoma Watch reporter since 2016. He covers politics, elections, well being insurance policies and authorities accountability points. Name or textual content him at (630) 301-0589. E-mail him at [email protected] Comply with him on Twitter at @tbrownokc
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