OHA asks hospitals to contact legislators before session begins

Posted on: 1/25/17


On Jan. 12, OHA sent an Action Alert to hospital administrators asking them to make contact with state legislators (House & Senate) as soon as possible to stress the need for quick action on providing necessary funding for health care by passing at least $1.50 cigarette tax increase early in the legislative session. OHA members were asked to make the following points:
  • Introduce yourself (if new legislator). Remind your legislator you want to be an effective resource for them as they deal with health care issues.
  • Stress the need for quick action, early in session, on providing necessary funding for health care. Hospitals have already experienced, over the past several years, cuts in payments on average of more than $187 million per year.
  • Hospitals, and a coalition of more than 40 health care, business and patient advocacy organizations, will be urging legislators to pass at least a $1.50 increase in the cigarette tax early in session to stave off further cuts. Tell your legislator you’ll be following up with more specifics near the start of session.
Background

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority received a temporary fix in 2016 via a cut to higher education funding. This held the Oklahoma Health Care Authority harmless in the current year budget, but did not do the same for Medicaid expenses in mental health.

An increase of at least $1.50 per pack of cigarettes will begin to stabilize funding for the Medicaid health care agencies, including OHCA, Dept. of Mental Health and DHS, and produce a continuing revenue source. These funds would also be matched at nearly a rate of $1.50 federal to $1 state. The Oklahoma Tax Commission has conservatively projected that on a 10-month basis, the new tax would bring an additional $199.7 million in state revenue.

If you need more detail, click here, or contact OHA government relations, (405) 427-9537, lwhite@okoha.com or sharrison@okoha.com. (Lynne White)

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