Hospital officials urged members of the bicameral Healthcare Working Group to add up to 628,000 able-bodied adults to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, even though they said they lose money serving Medicaid patients, the program does not guarantee patients access to treatment, and Medicaid effectively raises the cost of private insurance.
If lawmakers want to improve health outcomes in Oklahoma, one way to generate significant progress is to improve education outcomes, one expert recently told members of the legislative Healthcare Working Group.
Officially, 14 percent of Oklahomans are uninsured. But one Senate leader questions whether that statistic reflects reality because it excludes a significant number of people: those who receive care through Indian Health Service facilities or other tribal government programs.
When advocates discuss expanding Oklahoma’s Medicaid welfare program, they typically suggest beneficiaries will be financially struggling individuals. But this week’s meeting of the legislative Healthcare Working Group focused on a very different group of expansion beneficiaries: People who have just re-entered society after being convicted of crimes that sent them to prison.
In the last few years, the federal match for state dollars spent on Medicaid in Oklahoma has increased by a dramatic rate. But officials don’t expect that to last, and are preparing for future cuts in federal funding.