Oklahoma's Gov. Fallin: "Help me Obamacare, you're my only hope!"
Despite bitter resistance in Oklahoma for years to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Republican leaders in this conservative state are now confronting something that alarms them even more: a huge $1.3 billion hole in the budget that threatens to do widespread damage to the state's health care system.
So, in what would be the grandest about-face among rightward leaning states, Oklahoma is now moving toward a plan to expand its Medicaid program to bring in billions of federal dollars from Obama's new health care system.
What's more, GOP leaders are considering a tax hike to cover the state's share of the costs.
"We're to the point where the provider rates are going to be cut so much that providers won't be able to survive, particularly the nursing homes," said Republican state Rep. Doug Cox, referring to possible cuts in state funds for indigent care that could cause some hospitals and nursing homes to close.
Well, gee whilikers, you mean slashing tax rates and government services to the bone doesn't cause unicorn farts and lollipops to start spreading across the land? Color me shocked.
Despite furious opposition by conservative groups, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and some GOP legislative leaders are pushing the plan, and support appears to be growing in the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature. Details have not been ironed out but the proposal is based on an Indiana program that received federal approval.
..."We are nearing a colossal collapse of our health care system in Oklahoma," warned Craig Jones, the president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association...In the poverty-wracked southeastern corner of the state, where 96 percent of babies in the McCurtain Memorial Hospital are born to Medicaid patients, most health care would end, said hospital CEO Jahni Tapley.
It's worth noting that I made note of the "years of tax cuts and corporate subsidies" referred to in the article right here back in March:
Just how grim the state’s budget situation has become was apparent Wednesday morning as the state House of Representatives discussed and ultimately agreed to a bill that would cut 111,000 Oklahomans, most of them women, from Medicaid.
Of course, Oklahoma Republicans being Oklahoma Republicans, they can't possibly admit that maybe, just maybe they should admit that they made a collossal mistake and now have to admit that The Black Guy in the White House might be the key to their salvation:
...Fallin, a former congresswoman who voted against Obama's health plan when it came before the House, argues that the plan doesn't amount to expanding Medicaid because the program's rolls don't grow. Rather, she said, it "transitions 175,000 Medicaid enrollees to the private insurance market."
This is my shocked face. (◔_◔)