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Oklahoma Says No to Health Insurance Exchange

Governor Mary Fallin has announced that Oklahoma will not be creating a state-based exchange or participating in the Medicaid expansion as part of Obamacare.  Oklahoma will be defaulting to the federal exchange.  This is an excellent decision from our Governor.  The costs associated with operating an exchange are so high it doesn’t make fiscal sense for the state to choose that route.  In her statement Gov. Fallin also says the Oklahoma State Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, will still be pursuing a legal challenge to Obamacare.

This is just one more reason why it was important to elect Mary Fallin instead of Jari Askins.

This makes Oklahoma the seventeenth state I’m aware of to default to the federal exchange.  The others are:

1. North Dakota
2. South Dakota
3. Wyoming
4. Nebraska
5. Kansas
6. Texas
7. Missouri
8. Wisconsin
9. Louisiana
10. Alabama
11. Georgia
12. South Carolina
13. New Hampshire
14. Maine
15. Alaska
16. Ohio

Here is the text of Governor Fallin’s statement.

mary fallin“For the past few months, my staff and I have worked with other lawmakers, Oklahoma stakeholders and health care experts across the country to determine the best course of action for Oklahoma in regards to both the creation of a health insurance exchange and the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Our priority has been to ascertain what can be done to increase quality and access to health care, contain costs, and do so without placing an undue burden on taxpayers or the state. As I have stated many times before, it is my firm belief that PPACA fails to further these goals, and will in fact decrease the quality of health care across the United States while contributing to the nation’s growing deficit crisis.

“Despite my ongoing opposition to the federal health care law, the state of Oklahoma is legally obligated to either build an exchange that is PPACA compliant and approved by the Obama Administration, or to default to an exchange run by the federal government. This choice has been forced on the people of Oklahoma by the Obama Administration in spite of the fact that voters have overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to the federal health care law through their support of State Question 756, a constitutional amendment prohibiting the implementation of key components of PPACA.

“After careful consideration, I have today informed U.S. Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius that Oklahoma will not pursue the creation of its own health insurance exchange. Any exchange that is PPACA compliant will necessarily be ‘state-run’ in name only and would require Oklahoma resources, staff and tax dollars to implement. It does not benefit Oklahoma taxpayers to actively support and fund a new government program that will ultimately be under the control of the federal government, that is opposed by a clear majority of Oklahomans, and that will further the implementation of a law that threatens to erode both the quality of American health care and the fiscal stability of the nation.

“Furthermore, I have also decided that Oklahoma will not be participating in the Obama Administration’s proposed expansion of Medicaid. Such an expansion would be unaffordable, costing the state of Oklahoma up to $475 million between now and 2020, with escalating annual expenses in subsequent years. It would also further Oklahoma’s reliance on federal money that may or may not be available in the future given the dire fiscal problems facing the federal government. On a state level, massive new costs associated with Medicaid expansion would require cuts to important government priorities such as education and public safety. Furthermore, the proposed Medicaid expansion offers no meaningful reform to a massive entitlement program already contributing to the out-of-control spending of the federal government.

“Moving forward, the state of Oklahoma will pursue two actions simultaneously. The first will be to continue our support for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s ongoing legal challenge of PPACA. General Pruitt’s lawsuit raises different Constitutional questions than previous legal challenges, and both he and I remain optimistic that Oklahoma’s challenge can succeed.

“Our second and equally important task will be to pursue state-based solutions that improve health outcomes and contain costs for Oklahoma families. Serious reform, for instance, should be pursued in the area of Medicaid and public health, where effective chronic disease prevention and management programs could address the trend of skyrocketing medical bills linked to avoidable hospital and emergency room visits. I look forward to working with legislative leaders and lawmakers in both parties to pursue Oklahoma health care solutions for Oklahoma families.”

4 comments to Oklahoma Says No to Health Insurance Exchange

  • I’m glad to see Governor Fallin taking this stand. I firmly believe the only path we have to defeat the liberal agenda will begin with the states. There has to be a line drawn in the sand somewhere and this seems like as good a place as any.

  • Rutherford County, in the U.S. state of Tennessee has also opposed to the creation of state-run health insurance exchange. The states mostly feel that the government run health care regulations are going to bankrupt them. It will supposedly bring down the quality of health care. The Affordable Care Act is officially going to be implemented from 2014. Setting up the health insurance exchanges and running them is going to be costly. Though the federal government is supposed to forward funds to the states, it is not going to lend financial assistance for more than two to three years. What will happen after the funds are pulled away? Who will bear the additional expenses? – Presumably the tax payers only.

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