Since 2014, the Oklahoma Hospital Association has worked to garner legislative and public support for accepting federal funds to cover more uninsured in our state.
Accepting federal funds to cover the uninsured in Oklahoma will help keep rural hospitals open and allow others to improve their care. As part of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals across the U.S. agreed to cuts of more than $155 billion in Medicare payments over ten years. Hospitals understood these cuts would pay for low-income uninsured individuals’ health insurance coverage to reduce hospitals’ uncompensated care. In fact, Oklahoma has received $2.8 billion (2014 -2017) less from Medicare. However, Oklahoma rejected the federal funds intended to compensate for this loss, creating a coverage crater of hard-working Oklahomans who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but don’t make enough to afford health insurance premiums. Meanwhile, our tax dollars are going to the 34 states that have accepted federal funds to broaden health coverage in those states.
From 2017 to 2021, had Oklahoma accepted federal funds to expand Medicaid, more than $14.5 billion would have been injected into our state’s economy and more than 24,000 health care related jobs would have been created. (“Estimated Impact of New Coverage – Accepting Federal Funds, 2017-2021,” Analysis of state budget impact by Manatt Health by Dr. Gerald A. Doeksen, et al., OSU, April 2016.)