Medicaid Expansion

Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board did not vote on a proposal to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates to providers by 25 percent at its meeting on Monday.

OHCA CEO Nico Gomez originally proposed the cut in March due to the state’s projected $1.3 billion budget dollar shortfall. At Monday’s meeting, Gomez asked the board to delay action because legislators had not yet released a budget. The Oklahoma legislature is in the final week of its session, and a budget agreement had not emerged as of Monday afternoon.

Flickr / Alex Proimos

Despite bitter resistance in Oklahoma for years to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Republican leaders in this conservative state are now confronting something that alarms them even more: a huge $1.3 billion hole in the budget that threatens to do widespread damage to the state's health care system.

So, in what would be the grandest about-face among rightward leaning states, Oklahoma is now moving toward a plan to expand its Medicaid program to bring in billions of federal dollars from Obama's new health care system.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about mixed reaction in Oklahoma to the assumed nomination of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, with just three weeks left in the legislative session there's still no movement on the budget and the GOP in the House and Senate selects its leadership for 2017.

With support from Oklahoma hospitals and state health leaders, the head of Oklahoma's Medicaid agency on Thursday proposed a "rebalancing" of the program that could extend health coverage to 175,000 uninsured residents and trigger an infusion of federal funding.

John Durkee / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

She was around two hours late, but when Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took the stage at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa on Friday, she came out swinging on education reform.

"I have this kind of novel idea that when I am going to be working on elementary and secondary education, I'm actually going to be talking to and listening to teachers and educators."

Dallas's Parkland Hospital treats a lot of people without health insurance. On a November day in 1963, emergency room doctors at this county hospital frantically tried to save an American president who could not be saved. These days, emergency room doctors frantically try to treat 240,000 patients every year.

"So you can see we have every treatment area filled up. Beds are in the hallways and the rooms are all full," says Dr. John Pease, chief of emergency services.

Five years after the Affordable Care Act passed, the law's provision allowing the expansion of Medicaid coverage to more people is still causing huge fights in state legislatures.

Headlines for Monday, May 4, 2015:

  • State lawmakers are getting closer to the end of the legislative session. (Tulsa World)

  • An Oklahoma Senator is raising concerns over a bond proposal to finish the Native American Cultural Center in Oklahoma City. (NewsOK)

  • As the legislative session nears its end a pay raise for teachers appears unlikely. (Journal Record)

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature — at odds over the question of whether to expand Medicaid — abruptly ended its session three days early on Tuesday, leaving hundreds of bills that are unrelated to health care unfinished.

Andy Gardiner, president of Florida's state Senate, says he's disappointed with the House's decision to stop negotiating and leave town.

Johnny Reynolds knew that something was wrong as far back as 2003. That's when he first started experiencing extreme fatigue.

"It was like waking up every morning and just putting a person over my shoulders and walking around with them all day long," says Reynolds, 54, who lived in Ohio at the time.

In addition, Reynolds was constantly thirsty and drank so much water that he would urinate 20 or 30 times per day. "And overnight I would probably get up at least eight or nine times a night," he says.

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