Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

State News

February 6, 2013

Building coalition at Capitol

NORMAN — A rally on the state Capitol steps Tuesday afternoon presented another side of the state Medicaid expansion debate. Groups supporting the expanded coverage spoke in hopes of the governor changing her mind. Republican governors in other states have changed their minds, but it may take more than a groundswell here.

Gov. Mary Fallin defended her decision against expanding Medicaid in the state, claiming the expense was too much for Oklahoma. Thousands of Oklahomans would have been added to the Medicaid rolls, giving them a type of health insurance. Instead, Oklahoma tax dollars will support expansion in other states.

Rejection of the plan hurts individuals but also will impact revenue at hospitals and nonprofit clinics. Part of the Affordable Care Act eliminates a hospital subsidy since it assumed more of a hospital’s patients would be covered by Medicaid.

Private-paying patients will be paying more for insurance and care. Rural hospitals may be hit first.

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