Step Up revenue plan fails in House; cuts proposed

Posted on: 2/14/18

In spite of a powerful drive on the part of health care leaders and education advocates at the Capitol on Monday, HB1033x, the Step Up Oklahoma revenue plan, failed to receive the necessary three-fourths support in the House. OHA appreciates the many hospital leaders who came to the Capitol on Monday or called legislators. After lengthy debate and the vote being held open until after 11 p.m., the bill fell short by 13 votes. “We are frustrated, as we know you are, at the Legislature’s inability to reach a bipartisan agreement, and will continue to fight for a solution that will bring much needed funding to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and mental health,” said Craig Jones, OHA president. For more details on the day’s events, click here.

In the meantime, please take a moment to send a thank you to the House members who “stepped up” and voted yes. There were 63 of them, and we need to express our thanks of support for this difficult vote. For the vote count, click here.

Below is the OHA press statement on the failure of HB1033x:

The Oklahoma House of Representatives’ inability to reach the required supermajority of 76 votes on the Step Up Oklahoma plan, even though more than a majority of House members cast votes in support, has once again put health care in Oklahoma in a precarious situation. We were hopeful that as an important first step toward more long-term solutions, compromise would win the day, so we are extremely disappointed. Now, funding urgently needed is nowhere in sight. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has stated they will run out of money in March, and mental health will run out of critical funds soon as well. Further cuts in provider rates will close more rural hospitals, reduce employment across the state, and jeopardize access to vital health care services. We implore members of the House to work together to find a solution. Oklahoma hospitals will continue to work toward a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax increase, which will not only provide dedicated dollars to health care, but will improve the health of Oklahomans and help to reduce overall health care costs.

Meanwhile, House Floor Leader Jon Echols stated on Tuesday that the House would vote this week on $40 million in spending cuts for the FY2018 budget because of the failed revenue bill. The budget bill would also include $63 million in existing funds to cover the remaining shortfall. For more on Echols’ statement, click here.

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