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KOSU’s health care exchange tip sheet

Filed by KOSU News in Feature.
November 13, 2012

Late Thursday night, the Obama administration pushed the deadline back to December 14th, from today. That means Governor Fallin doesn’t have to make a decision on a federal or state exchange until then.

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First, let’s go back to 2011, when Governor Fallin first accepted, then rejected $54.6 million in federal funds to establish a health care exchange. House Speaker Kris Steele (R – Sapulpa) supported Governor Fallin accepting the money, but many in his caucus called for the state to turn it down.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman once agreed to using the federal money, but he eventually flipped too.

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After turning down the money, state legislators created a joint committe to work through the issues presented by President Obama’s health care law. They put together a 32 page report. But then the Governor said she wouldn’t make a decision until after the presidential election. So everything was put on hold.

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Okay, so if the state decides in mid-December it wants to set up its own exchange, what might it look like?

Insure Oklahoma already pools together small businesses so they can buy health insurance. They’re up to 30,000 people, and KOSU’s Michael Cross delved inside the program earlier this year.

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Beyond the exchange, can Oklahoma’s health care system handle an influx of patients? Massachusetts went through this already, but was also much better prepared. Oklahoma will need more doctors to serve more patients, but they don’t think it’s reaching a breaking point. I tried to sort through what it all means, back in August.

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