ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
47°
Clear
H 48° L 31°
  • cloudy-day
    47°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 48° L 31°
  • clear-night
    33°
    Morning
    Clear. H 48° L 31°
  • clear-day
    60°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 65° L 41°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Governor Fallin has no plan to revisit Medicaid rejection
Close

Governor Fallin has no plan to revisit Medicaid rejection

Governor Fallin has no plan to revisit Medicaid rejection
Photo Credit: Russell Mills
Gov. Mary Fallin speaks with KRMG at the GOP Presidential Primary watch party in Oklahoma City, Mar. 6, 2012

Governor Fallin has no plan to revisit Medicaid rejection

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she has no plans to revisit her decision to reject an expansion of Medicaid in Oklahoma, saying instead she wants the federal government to give policymakers in the state the flexibility to develop their own plan for improving the health of its citizens.

Despite repeated calls from Democrats for Fallin to reverse her decision, the Republican governor reiterated her position that the Medicaid expansion would ultimately prove too costly to the state.

"I don't think we can afford it, and I've laid out my position on that," Fallin said during an interview with The Associated Press. "I have asked a consultant to analyze our options for being able to provide the best health care service in the state of Oklahoma and how we run our Medicaid system."

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state agency that oversees the Medicaid program, issued a $500,000 consulting contract with Utah-based Leavitt Partners to analyze and make recommendations for developing an Oklahoma-based plan for increasing health insurance coverage in the state.

Although the federal government has agreed to pay the full cost of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years of the program, the OHCA projects a state cost of more than $7 million a year to administer the program for the first three years. By the time the state picks up 10 percent of the cost of the expansion in 2020, the OHCA estimates an annual cost of $65 million to the state if all of the 200,000 eligible uninsured Oklahomans were to participate in the program.

Fallin, who said she spoke Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, said she urged Sebelius to consider giving states more flexibility to develop their own plans or perhaps partner with other states to meet the health care needs of citizens.

"We want to be able to tailor our own health system, understanding that we've got to comply with federal law, but to do it in a way that we think is in the best interest of Oklahoma and our budget constraints," Fallin said.

Meanwhile, the governor said she will ask lawmakers to consider boosting the budget for the Health Care Authority to pay for an anticipated increase in the number of Medicaid-eligible Oklahoma residents who are not currently enrolled in the system. She said she also will endorse a plan to encourage Oklahomans to create healthier communities, schools and workplaces and address preventable illnesses connected to smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.

"Studies have shown that 70 percent of the illnesses in America are caused by our own health habits and lifestyle habits," said Fallin, who last year banned smoking on state property and pushed for the construction of a fitness center in the basement of the state Capitol.

Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage, who has criticized Fallin's rejection of the Medicaid expansion, said he's willing to listen to Fallin's proposals for improving the health of Oklahoma residents, but remains convinced the Medicaid expansion is an opportunity the state shouldn't pass up.

"It's the right thing to do," said Burrage, D-Claremore, who has introduced a bill to expand Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma. "It gives financial security to low-income, working adults, because when you're out there uninsured, you're very vulnerable. You're one health crisis away from bankruptcy."

___

Sean Murphy can be reached at

Copyright The Associated Press

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • The city of Everett, Washington, ,” but the baristas are not backing down. The baristas are arguing that their skimpy costumes fall under freedom of expression.In recent court filings, the city claimed the coffee stands have a history of prostitution, sexual assault and exploitation. One of Everett's new laws requires the workers to wear a minimum of tank tops and shorts. It specifically applies to employees at 'quick service' restaurants, which also include fast food and food trucks. >> Read more trending news The other redefined the city's lewd conduct ordinance and created a new crime of facilitating lewd conduct. Both ordinances took effect in early September. But seven bikini baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands called 'Hillbilly Hotties' sued the city to block the dress code in September, saying it's vague, unlawfully targets women, and denies them the ability to communicate through their attire.  KIRO-TV asked a constitutional law attorney about that argument.  “That is not a frivolous argument. One can see that this is conduct which may not be pure speech, but nevertheless is a conduct that does enjoy constitutional protections. The question is how much constitutional protection,” said constitutional law attorney Jeffrey Needle. The Everett City Council unanimously passed the ordinances in August but halted the ban while the case is in court.  A senior U.S. district court judge heard the arguments Tuesday in a federal Seattle court.
  • Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the tobacco industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the deadly, addictive effects of smoking, more than 11 years after a judge ruled that the companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes. But years of legal push back by the industry over every detail means the ads will be less hard-hitting than what was proposed. Tobacco control experts say the campaign — built around network TV and newspapers — will not reach people when they are young and most likely to start smoking. “Their legal strategy is always obstruct, delay, create confusion and buy more time,” said Ruth Malone, of the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied the industry for 20 years. “So by the time this was finally settled, newspapers have a much smaller readership, and nowadays, who watches network TV?” The new spots, which begin Sunday, lay out the toll of smoking in blunt text and voiceover statements: “More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol, combined.” Companies will also acknowledge their role in making cigarettes addictive: “Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.”
  • On Black Friday, you’ll want to know which items to stand in line for, and which items to buy after the holiday season has passed. You can end up saving a lot of money (and time) by shopping smart as you weave your way through the crowds or shop online. They may not be the sexiest of gifts, but small and large home appliances often are priced to sell on Black Friday. From electric mixers and coffeemakers to refrigerators and dishwashers, says it’s worth checking out the deals on these items on Black Friday.While some analysts say January, leading up to the Super Bowl, is the best time to find a television at a good price, there are still plenty of TV deals on Black Friday. Keep in mind that lower-end models tend to be priced the most competitively, making Black Friday the perfect time to pick up a television for a second bedroom or the kids’ room. If you are looking for a high-end television, it’s better to wait until after Black Friday.: Shoppers will find many basic laptop models at bargain-basement prices on Black Friday. Power users looking for good deals on high-end laptops should wait until after Black Friday.The same logic applies to tablets. There will be plenty of Black Friday doorbusters featuring basic tablet models; just don’t expect steep discounts on iPads.says gaming system bundles should receive good discounts on Black Friday. In years past, gaming system bundles have been priced up to $50 off the regular price on Black Friday. The furniture sales cycle resets in the summer, so if you wait until Black Friday, you won’t be getting the best deals, according to . And while buying outdoor furniture in winter might seem like a wise plan, retail experts say most of that merchandise has been removed from the floor to make room for holiday items by Black Friday, so you won’t find great deals on the remaining products. Unless your child is hoping for one of this year’s hottest toys, it’s actually better to wait until Cyber Monday or early December to shop for toys, according to . The toy that is priced up to half-off on Black Friday may end up being priced up to 75 percent off if you wait.Avoid spending your shopping money on winter clothing during Black Friday, because it generally sells at a much deeper discount soon after the holiday season ends. You might think that the best time to purchase workout equipment is during Black Friday, but the biggest deals on fitness equipment actually take place right after the turn of the new year.: You can still get your husband that tool set he’s been wanting for Christmas, just wait to purchase it until December, when tools and equipment sell for the largest discounts.There are rarely good deals on gift card purchases on Black Friday. The Street says this is because gift cards are the gift choice of procrastinators, so wait until just before Christmas to score better deals. Although you might want to buy a few special ornaments or decorations for your house on Black Friday, plan ahead by purchasing next year’s décor right after Christmas, when seasonal items are sold at clearance prices.
  • A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday. >> Click here or scroll down for the latest updates >> Read more trending news
  • For those wanting the traditional Thanksgiving feast but who can’t, or don’t want to, do the cooking there are a few restaurants in Tulsa that traditionally use the holiday as a way to thank their customers by offering a free meal. In Tulsa, Tally's Good Food Café at 11th and Yale has offered free Thanksgiving for 30 years; they'll feed people from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Owner Tally Alame tells KRMG he loves Thanksgiving, and loves throwing his doors open to all comers on the holiday. “Coming originally from Lebanon, I experienced Thanksgiving when I came to the country here, and it has to be my favorite time of the year. You can look back and see everything that we are thankful for, and so I just want to share my gratitude with my customers.” This year, he’s also thankful that his success is about to lead to a second location, at 61st and Sheridan. He had hoped to have it opened by Thanksgiving, but says he’ll have to delay until (tentatively) December 11th. Duffy’s Restaurant at 706 S. Elm Place will serve its free meal from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Owner Eddie Chammat tells KRMG it’s about thanking his customers, but also about providing a welcoming place for those who might otherwise be alone on the holiday. Batman's at Pine and Mingo offers free Subway Sandwiches and pie from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.