The federal government has denied the state of Oklahoma's request for a waiver that would extend its Insure Oklahoma program, which is scheduled to expire at the end of this year, the governor's office said Wednesday.
Gov. Mary Fallin last year rejected the Democratic president's proposals to expand the Medicaid health care program in Oklahoma to comply with the Affordable Care Act and to establish an online marketplace for the uninsured to shop for health insurance.
She requested federal officials grant a waiver to allow Insure Oklahoma to continue. Insure Oklahoma provides state funds along with Medicaid funds that are matched by small businesses and their employees to buy private health insurance coverage.
"This is the latest bad news in the ongoing train wreck that is the Affordable Care Act," Fallin said.
"Insure Oklahoma is a program that has been providing affordable health insurance to approximately 30,000 low-income Oklahomans since 2005," Fallin said. "It is exactly the kind of successful, state-based solution to health care needs that the federal government should be encouraging. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration seems intent on dismantling the program, as evidenced by the recent denial of Insure Oklahoma's Medicaid waiver."
“The president promised the American people, ‘if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.’ He has not kept his word. Thirty thousand Oklahomans participating in Insure Oklahoma – and many more Americans across the country – are being forced off their health insurance plans.”
“The president also promised the nation’s governors his administration would grant states the flexibility to pursue state-based solutions rather than one-size-fits-all policies. Again, that has proven to be untrue, as Oklahoma and other states are now finding their programs and waivers under assault by the Obama Administration.”
Fallin concluded: “I encourage the president to keep his promises and reverse his decision to gut one of Oklahoma’s most successful health initiatives.”
Sen. Dan Newberry said the Obama administration’s decision to deny the state’s request to extend funding for the Insure Oklahoma program, unless Oklahoma institutes the Obamacare exchanges, will force many thousands of Oklahoma’s neediest and most vulnerable off their health insurance plans.
Newberry said the administration’s denial of funding effectively holds the state hostage in its efforts to provide insurance access to low-income Oklahomans.
“This move is just the latest in a long line of decisions confirming that Obamacare will curtail consumer choice and mandate where and how citizens can receive medical treatment,” said Newberry, R-Tulsa. “Even if it deprives the poorest citizens of access to affordable healthcare, the administration is willing to dismantle successful state programs that don’t fit their one-size-fits-all vision for a nationalized healthcare system. This is an example of an arrogant and out-of-touch Washington.”
Insure Oklahoma provides health coverage for approximately 30,000 low-income Oklahomans. The denial of federal funding will effectively eliminate the program at the end of the year.
“Insure Oklahoma is not just a successful program, it is a program approved by popular vote and represents the will of the people,” Newberry said. “This illustrates how easy it has become under this administration for the liberties of Americans, afforded to them by our Constitution’s 10th Amendment, to be stripped away by this oppressive tyranny. It is also a direct violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Oklahoma leaders are obligated to oppose this federal overreach, and should continue to do so.”