Senate and House committees approve OHCA funding

Posted on: 12/20/17

On Tuesday, Dec. 19, the Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget approved the initial bills of the Second Extraordinary Session of the 56th Legislature, appropriating supplemental funds to get the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) through April 2018. OHA is urging members to contact legislators to make sure they understand that a 6 percent Medicaid rate cut is unacceptable and how important it is to pass the special session legislation by Friday of this week. To view the OHA Action Alert, click here.

SB 1XX appropriates $17.7 million to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) from the FY2018 General Revenue Fund. It passed 12-0.  

Should SB 1XX pass the Legislature this week, the OHCA board will meet on a date yet to be determined, sometime after a Dec. 28 SPARC meeting, to reverse the 6 percent rate cut for hospitals and physicians and the 1 percent rate cut for nursing homes.

Sen. Kim David, the bill’s author, explained the monies appropriated in the legislation stem from HB 1085X, which increased the gross production tax on so-called legacy wells. It is projected to accrue $48.4 million of additional revenue available for appropriation in the current fiscal year.

When Gov. Mary Fallin line-item vetoed most of the first special session’s revised general appropriations bill, David continued, those funds were not appropriated.

“It is in (the General Revenue Fund) but it has not been appropriated,” she surmised. She added that even if the measure passes, OHCA will still experience a budget shortfall the Legislature will need to address at another time.

Shortly after the Senate committee approved SB 1XX, the House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget gave do pass recommendations to the funding proposals for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Department of Human Services. The measures are expected to be taken up today (Dec. 20) by the Senate. If approved by the Senate, the bills could be heard on the House floor Friday. (Lynne White)

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