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Oklahomans could loose insuance by the thousands

November 20, 2014

This article was published in the Duncan Banner November 19, 2014.
If Oklahoma Federal District Court Judge Ronald A. White’s ruling that Oklahomans are not allowed to receive tax credits to purchase health insurance on the Federal Insurance Marketplace is not overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, 55,000 Oklahoma citizens will lose their health insurance subsidies. For most subsidies recipients, that means the end to their Affordable Health Care. White’s ruling is in contrast to other district court rulings which uphold the part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which allows Internal Revenue Services to issue tax credits for purchases through the Federal Insurance Marketplace.
79% of the 69,221 Oklahomans who obtained health insurance through the Marketplace during the 2013-14 open enrollment period (extending through April 19, 2014) selected a plan with financial assistance (income tax credit). To augment factual statistics regarding who acquired insurance through the Federal Market, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the following information:
56% female – 44% male
29% between ages 18 and 34;
66% selected a Silver plan – 24 % a Bronze plan
Because Oklahoma did not expand its current Medicaid program, Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Programs are only able to cover 13,526 individuals under the Affordable Care Act. If Medicaid had been expanded, an additional 123,000 uninsured people would now have health care insurance. By refusing to accept 55 MILION DOLLARS with which to establish an expanded Medicaid Marketplace, Governor Fallin’s administration has cost the state BILLIONS of DOLLARS in lost revenue. Under the present budgetary forecast, Oklahoma agencies will face yet another year of cuts to their operating funds.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that there are 1,578,000 non-elderly Oklahomans (under 65) with pre-existing health conditions, including 218,356 children.
For most of them, PPACA guidelines will not allow access to the Federal Marketplace because of low-income barriers and Fallin’s refusal to expand Medicaid.
Because the Affordable Care Act applies to all health insurances issued in the United States, and requires insurance companies to cover preventative care without co-pays, 849,000 Oklahomans (of which 330,000 are women) are receiving preventative care without cost-sharing.
Grants from the federal government in the amount of $82,293,660 were awarded to Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act. These funds were granted to expand primary care services, lengthen hours of operation, hire more caregivers and renovate or build new facilities. Included in this grant was $2,560,881 for health centers to train Outreach and Enrollment Assistants who assisted 47,280 Oklahomans to gain health insurance though the Federal Market Place. Thus, Oklahoma now has 19 health centers that operate 84 sites providing preventive and primary health services to 162,871 residents. This includes 42,000 Latinos and 19,146 African Americans. (Native Americans receive care through tribal health centers.)
Additionally, Oklahoma received $20,956,052 in grants from a Federal Prevention and Public Health Fund authorized by the Affordable Care Act. These funds were granted to support programs like Stop Smoking, fighting obesity, health coverage enrollment and enlarging the primary care and public health workforce so Oklahomans can live more productive lives.
Thanks to the ACA, Oklahomans on Medicare saved an estimated $147,659,812 on prescription drugs. Almost 55,980 Seniors in Oklahoma saved over $50,728,120 (an average of $906.00 per patient) in 2013 alone. These figures will continue to rise as the “donut hole” closes.
The help seniors (65+) derived from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was also the health insurance caveat which disallowed co-pays for preventative examinations. This allowed 452,523 Oklahomans on Medicare to have one or more free preventative services in 2013.
Governor Fallin’s statement that Oklahoma did not want the Federal Government telling her how to run the state’s healthcare would be laughable if it hadn’t harmed so many of our citizens!
To learn more, join us at “China One” Buffet Restaurant, 2305 N. Hwy 81, Duncan, on Thursday, November 20th. No-host dinner 6PM. Meeting 7PM. OK Rep. Joe Dorman will speak.


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