A bill that would save Oklahoma $84 million by changing Medicaid income requirements passed out of the state Senate Monday.

The measure would would change parent and caretaker group income requirements from 41 percent of the federal poverty level to 20 percent, a move that would make more than 43,000 currently covered adults ineligible for Medicaid.

Senator Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate) is one of the bill's authors. He says the adults who lose coverage under his plan could get health care on a sliding scale from a federally qualified health center.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and sitting in for Neva Hill is former House Speaker Kris Steele. The three discuss the teacher walkout announced for April 2nd, calling on lawmakers to follow through with the 2003 law requiring education budgets to be completed by April 1st and House Republicans reelect Atoka Representative Charles McCall to be Speaker in the next legislative session.

As the Trump administration moves to give states more flexibility in running Medicaid, advocates for the poor are keeping a close eye on Indiana to see whether such conservative ideas improve or harm care.

Indiana in 2015 implemented some of the most radical changes seen to the state-federal program that covers nearly 1 in 4 low-income Americans — including charging some adults a monthly premium and locking out for six months some of those who don't pay their premiums.

Oregon is in a battle royal over how to pay for expanded Medicaid.

The fight revolves around Measure 101, a ballot initiative that you have to go back a few years to understand.

During the 1990s, Oregon's then-governor, John Kitzhaber, had a background in health care — he had worked as an emergency room doctor. His legacy in the state includes the expansion of health insurance for the poor, an idea he managed to sell to both Democrats and Republicans.

StateImpact Oklahoma

2017 is wrapping up, but the growing group of reporters at StateImpact are following many important government policy issues that will carry on into the new year.

Senior Reporter and Managing Editor Joe Wertz brought the StateImpact team into the studio for a preview of their coverage in the year to come. Here are some excerpts from the conversation edited for clarity:


Joe Wertz: Give me the big picture for the new year.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

After her divorce, Lori Taylor wanted a home all her own. She moved back to Oklahoma to be near her aging parents, but she had a problem. For years her personal caregiver had been her now ex-husband.

“I have cerebral palsy and that’s brain damage that I incurred at birth, and it affects my motor skills. I’m confined to an electric wheelchair. I can stand but I can’t walk, I have very limited use of my arms,” Taylor says, sitting in the living room of her Norman apartment.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the Oklahoma Health Care Authority cutting Medicaid reimbursement rates 6% to most health care providers and 1% to nursing homes while the Attorney General, State Auditor and even the House of Representatives begin investigations of possible fiscal mismanagement at the Department of Health and lawmakers await an announcement on another special session to deal with the budget shortfall.

Meet Your Friends Who Get Medicaid

Sep 23, 2017

When high levels of lead were discovered in the public water system in Flint, Mich., in 2015, Medicaid stepped in to help thousands of children get tested for poisoning and receive care.

When disabled children need to get to doctor's appointments — either across town or hundreds of miles away — Medicaid pays for their transportation.

Drug Puts A $750,000 'Price Tag On Life'

Aug 2, 2017

Jana Gundy and Amanda Chaffin, who live within two hours of each other in Oklahoma, each have a child with the same devastating disease.

The genetic condition, spinal muscular atrophy, robs its sufferers of muscle strength, affecting their ability to sit, stand or even breathe.

So both moms were ecstatic when the Food and Drug Administration approved the first treatment for the condition two days before Christmas in 2016. It seemed the gift they had been waiting for — a chance to slow the heartbreaking decline of their young sons.

When Taylor Merendo moved to Bloomington, Ind., nearly two years ago, fleeing an abusive marriage, she needed help.

"I was six months pregnant and at that point in time, I really didn't have a stable place to live," Merendo says.