State Sen. Kim David said Friday that legislation to make Insure Oklahoma 100 percent state-funded will prevent 9,000 hard-working Oklahomans from losing their health insurance. David, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, said the plan is expected to be signed out of a Senate conference committee on Monday. However, before the language can be heard by the full Senate, House conferees must also approve the legislation.
Identical language has been placed in two measures, Senate Bill 254 and Senate Bill 700, using $50 million from state tobacco taxes to prevent Insure Oklahoma from shutting down at the end of 2013.
“Insure Oklahoma has given 30,000 low-income Oklahomans insurance coverage, but the federal government said it cannot continue to receive federal dollars unless we change the program,” said David, R-Porter. “Making it completely funded with state tobacco tax dollars means it will continue to be an Oklahoma health care solution with no strings attached, protecting us from additional federal mandates and rising costs that we simply cannot afford.”
Gov. Mary Fallin issued a statement on Friday that said unless lawmakers acted before the end of this session to continue Insure Oklahoma as a state-funded program, 9,000 low income Oklahomans would be stripped of their health insurance.
“We’ve worked closely with Governor Fallin on this legislation and I believe we’ll see it signed out by our Senate conferees on Monday morning. Nine thousand hard working Oklahomans stand to lose their access to health care if we fail to get this legislation to her desk. But with the support of our colleagues in the House, we can make sure that doesn’t happen.”